Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dr. Nemesis I Presume

There is a short list of “opposing doctors that I can recall.  James Bond had Dr. No as his nemesis.  Austin powers had his Dr. Evil.  And now, Melanoma Warriors have their own opposing doctor…but it’s not who you think.
Dr. Mehmet Oz recently made a comment on his show about rethinking the use of tanning beds for certain health benefits.  He did use the words “not for tanning,” but it was too late…molemates everywhere were shocked and disappointed that Dr. oz would even suggest stepping near a tanning bed.   He later wrote a blog on his website to reassure all that he still has a strong stance against the use of tanning beds, but that he was nevertheless intrigued by what his guest, a doctor, had to share.  I personally believe that Dr. Oz was merely offering up encouraging conversation with his guest so as not to create a negative impression on his show.  The only problem is, when Dr. Oz talks, many impressionable viewers listen, and that was the danger of his comment.  The guest’s comments however were indeed intriguing, but I was appalled by the suggestion to use such devices for therapy.  Dr. Oz’s guest was Dr. Joe Mercola.  Remember that name.  He is the nemesis to Melanoma warriors, not Dr. Oz.
Dr. Mercola is described as a cutting edge and often very controversial medical expert.  Such doctors in the past have been met with skepticism and criticism, only to later be hailed as cutting edge and innovative.  To some extent, Dr. Atkins of the famous Atkins' Diet was such a person.  Many claimed success following this diet while nutritionists all debunked his no-carb approach as hogwash.  Now, lower-carb (not no-carb) diets are suggested more so than low fat and one wonders if this trend would have taken place had not that crack-pot Dr. Atkins been stubbornly promoting his diet.  So is Dr. Mercola destined for the same path to higher praise?  I’m not a medical professional by any stretch of the imagination, but with regard to his views on tanning beds, I think not.  Why?  He sells them
Dr. Mercola sells tanning beds.
That says it all.  But does this one entrepreneurial venture alone make him our nemesis?  No, but there’s more.  On three separate occasions, the U.S Food and Drug Administration warned Dr. Mercola and his company to "to stop making illegal claims regarding his products' ability to detect, prevent and treat disease."

I ran across an article from the good Dr. Mercola titled “A Surprising Cause of Melanoma.”  He cites a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology which suggests that “the sun is likely nothing more than a scapegoat in the development of melanoma, and the sharp increase may actually be ‘an artifact caused by diagnostic drift.’”  In other words, people are being misdiagnosed with melanoma skin cancer even when they have only a minimal, non-cancerous lesion, and these diagnoses appear to be skewing disease rates significantly.  In short, he seems to be claiming that melanoma rates are not truly increasing.

The article goes on to discuss the importance of Vitamin D, the benefits of UVB rays to produce such vitamin D, the “best time” for UVB absorption (high noon to 1:00), and, surprise, the use of safe tanning beds…which he sells.  He also suggests participating in a Vitamin D deficiency study…for a fee of $60 per year.

Admittedly, both his appearance on The Dr. Oz Show and this article are intriguing...and maybe, just maybe medically sound.  But I don’t buy it.  Again, I’m not a medical professional, but I think there needs to be a lot more study on such claims.  I believe that people should enjoy life in the sun, but with caution by using sunscreen and avoiding the hottest part of the day.  I believe in taking Vitamin D3 supplements (but not too many).  And I believe I’ll side with the more established organizations who claim UV radiation from tanning lamps cause cancer, such as the American Academy of Dermatology, The Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, the Skin Cancer Foundation and many others.

Dr. Oz, please air a public statement about the error of your previous “rethinking” and I’ll forgive you.  Dr. Mercola, until your theories are substantiated by mainstream and respected medical groups, keep your tanning beds to yourself.

1 comment:

  1. I would trust Dr. Mercola over Dr. Oz because Dr. Oz is bought out by the advertizers who pay him millions to promote their theories and products!