The Weekly Woo: Crazy, Sexy Bullshit

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Happy Saturday, #sciencebabeshills! It’s been a very busy week.

A quick re-cap- After bringing poor #ScienceDog to pick up treatment for tapeworms at Petco, I found they sell homeopathic worm treatment. Pick your jaw up off the floor now.

I’ve contacted Petco and they’ve always been very receptive to feedback. I hope they will take just the few exchanges I’ve had with them to pull it from the shelves. Otherwise, this one may be launched into a full campaign. This is so dangerous; it can delay a real treatment from being administered. I really hope that they will be receptive to how dangerous this is.

(What can I say, I really like having Buddy around, and I’m sure you guys adore your pets too.)

So onto the weekly woo… Kris Carr and Crazy Sexy Cancer.

HEAR YE HEAR YE, SCIENCE BABE ATTACKS CANCER PATIENT!

(ahem)

First, let me make this abundantly clear. I am not attacking Kris. I am happy that she is alive and well and has found a way to thrive during what appeared to her to be dire circumstances. I hope she continues to enjoy her life for a very, very long time. I also think she follows some good ideas. Eat more vegetables. Eat less meat, sugar, and processed food. Exercise.

What’s so wrong about that? Nothing, right?

Well…

Well who the hell is Kris Carr and where did she get certified as an oncologist?

Kris is an actress and, in 2003, was given a diagnosis of epithelioid hemangioendothelioma. This is an extremely rare cancer which is unresponsive to chemotherapy. I’ll be honest, if this had happened to me, I would have broken down crying, shat myself, eaten four pints of Ben and Jerry’s, and then calmly asked “wait, what the fuck is that and how did four pints of Ben and Jerry’s end up in my doctor’s office?”

Carr’s response? She produced a documentary on her cancer journey and tried every alternative medicine under the sun, including yoga, going vegan, green juice (both orally and via enema), smoothies, and testing blood pH and alkalinity. Because cancer is crazy and sexy in her world and just involves juice and yoga pants and a streak of pink hair. By the end of the documentary, she not only had her cancer pretty much under control, but she had gotten married. It’s just like a bad case of acne, duh. I had some cancer but I cleared it up. Look, I am cancer and so can you! Inspiration! Namaste purple!

Cancer has been discussed on this site a few times. There are a lot of different forms of cancer, the reasons we get it vary and are, at times, hard to pinpoint, and a lot of factors can go into what makes someone healthy and keeps someone healthy once diagnosed. One of these things? The type of cancer. There are two forms of EH. One is aggressive. The other? Slow moving.

Like, glacial pace slow moving.

Like, there are dead snails fucking faster than this cancer is moving.

Let’s be clear, there is nothing lucky about getting cancer. But if you’re going to get cancer, epithelioid hemangioendothelioma may as well be it. People have lived for decades with the tumors in their body. In that time, you can easily claim any multitude of things are keeping you alive because the cancer is not going to kill you for a while. “I drank coffee this morning and the cancer didn’t kill me. The coffee is keeping me alive!” Correlation isn’t causation. But since she’s doing so many things in her routine, it’s hard to figure out what’s working and what’s just bullshit.

It is curious that she’s labeled as a cancer survivor and that, amongst other things, green juice enemas cure cancer (have you seen the movie?) because…

Kris Carr still has cancer.

Yeah. Funny that.

Kris Carr is still riddled with the same smattering of tumors today that she was on the day she was diagnosed. Her tumors have not grown much, but her vegan diet, green juice enemas, pH testing, and everything else she’s doing? It’s all a stall. There is a chance the cancer will hurt her one day.

That has to be terrifying.

But it’s also not an excuse to prey on other peoples’ fears of dying. And that’s what happens when you make an entire business model based on telling people how you’re beating death; they will pay you anything to help keep them alive. She’s become a “cancerlebrity,” a person famous for beating cancer (ignoring that she still has cancer). She’s selling inspiration, a lifestyle.

Not everyone agrees. Cancer as a lifestyle?

It’s not appreciated by all other cancer patients to portray cancer as ‘sexy.’ Carr has been able to experience cancer as sexy, but for people who have gone through chemotherapy, had their breasts removed, a limb taken off, or had other parts of their body and life ravaged by this disease, her story transitions from ‘inspirational’ to ‘insensitive.’ From the reviews of her book, Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips, on Amazon.com-

“As a cancer survivor, I wanted to like this book. I love the idea of a “hip” survival/inspirational guide for women. I am so glad that Kris Carr has dealt so well with a devastating diagnosis. This points to a true strength of spirit. I think the author’s heart is in the right place, but something went wrong here. I didn’t find this book hip, or funny. It struck a bad chord for me. When I had cancer I too was 31. I didn’t go through a decision-making process about whether to tell my esthetician about my illness. I wasn’t worried about getting my bikini area waxed. I didn’t go on a “cancervation” with my “posse”, because I was working to pay my bills and keep my health insurance. I didn’t attend retreats and trainings and buy hundreds of dollars of goods from Whole Foods on shopping trips and make a documentary about myself. People deal with trauma and heal in different ways, and spending freely seems to have been beneficial to Kriss Carr’s personal journey. Each woman featured in this book talks about her height and weight, and Kris Carr makes numerous references to her own weight and desire to weigh less. It seems the opposite of “empowering”, and perhaps a bit disingenuous, for a woman who looks (at least in her photos) radiantly healthy, beautiful, stylish, and very thin to keep making references to desire for weighing less. I’d find it inspirational to hear things along the lines of “I used to worry about my weight before cancer, but since I’ve changed my diet and lifestyle, my body has changed and I’m very happy with it, I feel very comfortable in my own skin now” (or something like that). When I had cancer, I was more concerned with getting well than stepping on the scale. I’m well and healthy, now, my looks are something I pay attention to but emphasizing it in a book focused on cancer seems wrong. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to have the disease that Kris Carr is living with. She seems to be doing something right – a lot of somethings. I respect this tremendously. I’d love to hear more about diet and exercise, more on inner process, less about numbers on the scale and appearance and the things that money can buy. Maybe focusing on this is meant to distract the mind, and I’ve missed the point!”

“First of all, I have a bad case of “chemo brain” right now so please forgive my bad spelling. This book would be helpful if I seemed to have the unlimited access to money that Mrs. Carr seems to have. I would love to be able to go on a “cancervation” to my favorite bed and breakfast. Who’s going to pay for it? The parts about shopping therapy were a laugh riot..-_-. Oh, that trip to Whole Foods to replace everything white and processed in my pantry. YEAH, because we all know cancer survivors are SUPPOSED to be VEGANS right? I wish I lived in such an idyllic world. Where I could just go to upstate New York and hike my troubles away. Wait.. what troubles does Kris Carr have? Well a rare form of cancer yes, but is she sick? Is she on chemo? Radiation? No wait.. she doesn’t even FEEL sick and is having NO TREATMENT? Then who is she to give me tips on dealing with the days and nights of side effects of chemo? No one that’s who. If you wanted mindless pandering by all means.. buy this book.”

“Kris Carr never went through treatment for cancer, but she tells you what YOU should do. But you must have a lot of extra income to afford her suggestions.”

Well that’s a really familiar theme. For all these people telling you not to spend your money on chemo, they’re always telling you to spend your whole paycheck on their unproven products.

What’s the take away from all of this? Do I think negatively of Kris? Am I cynical about this? No. She seems intelligent and like she’s just trying to keep herself healthy in the face of a bad situation. I also don’t know what part of her routine is keeping her alive and I hope that, at some point, she works with a real doctor or scientist to try to pinpoint it (or if it’s just time). It could be helpful for other patients.

The take away? Each cancer diagnosis is different. Her cancer case is, literally, a one in a million diagnosis and can go for decades without medical intervention. Before someone holds this up to you as proof that green juice cures cancer, remember that she had a type of cancer that did not respond to normal therapies and surgical intervention was not recommended. A loudmouth on the internet, myself included, is not the first person to consult.

If you are ever in the same position as Kris Carr, please consult your oncologist. Odds are he is not going to recommend a green juice. And if he does, he probably won’t recommend it via enema. Maybe I get why it’s called “Crazy Sexy” now…

-Science Babe

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22 Comments

  1. If this crazy sexy cancer BS gives you something to write about – you would love Jess Ainscough – self titled:’The Wellness Warrior’. Coffee enemas and juicing to ‘cure’ her rare, glacially slow growing epitheloid sarcoma. Unfortunately, when her mum was diagnosed with breast cancer she encouraged her to ignore conventional treatment and follow her crazy woo diet and enema regimen. Her mum died earlier this year!

  2. Wow. I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at age 40 and felt like the train ran off the tracks. As I lay in bed in hospital after my second surgery that removed my ovaries and the grapefruit sized tumor that surrounded them I read Kris Carr’s book. All I could think of as I read this was “what a load of crap”. Must be nice to have a lot of money and time and gorgeous blond healthy looks. She did not have a doctor look at her in the eyes and tell her she had 2-3 years to live. It’s been seven years and guess what’s kept me alive? Western medicine, my awesome oncology team and a lot of luck. Oh yeah, and chemo, surgeries, pot and lots and lots of calorie rich foods. Had I taken her advice on juicing and alkalinity my oncologist would have gone mental. “Eat anything that tastes good and will fatten you up” he said as I wasted away from my cancer and then treatment. I am so glad other people can see that she is a very shrewd business woman who is NOT a scientist and none of her “plant-based” goddess crap has any scientific evidence backing it up.

  3. Kris Carr is monitored regularly by an oncologist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She recommends people find the best oncologist for their type of cancer. Oncology had no treatment for her other than multiple organ transplant. If there is no traditional treatment available what is wrong with seeking out other things that might help? What is wrong with empowering other people in hopeless situations to do the same? I’ve been through it with family and its a horrifying situation to be in.

      • “The guy who treated her” went to the second-best medical school in the country in 2016 (Stanford) and did residency at University of Washington (#1 for primary care and #7 for internal medicine. Granted, I don’t know what their quality was in the 1980s, but pretty sure they were both near/at the top then, too.

  4. I agree, Kris Carr had the resources for her film and activities her unrealistic journey, Not realistic to the masses. Others are on state funds not actresses. She is glamorizing cancer. Nothing about it is real life like. She makes kids without resources feel bad they can’t eat or juice cancer out of themselves. This is like magical positive thinking your cancer away. She should document real children’s and adult death due to cancer instead.

  5. Whoa….not sure about the amount of time invested here to pass a negative bump to another person occupying the planet…for however short or long of a time any of us are allotted .

    Yes, we all have undetermined futures due to all the illnesses, accidents and self induced harm we created for ourselves. We also all do the best that we can with the knowledge we acquire along the way. My only point here is during this short period we call life, isn’t it healthier, in general, to fill ourselves and the others around us with “nice things”. Believe me here when I say that I know what I am talking about. I have personally been on both sides of the spectrum. Negative thoughts, actions and reactions leave you feeling less then empowered…to say the least. On the other hand, anything that can be done to step into the so called “positivity spectrum”…fills you with an energy that grows with every step. I wouldn’t believe it had I not done so myself.

    I don’t have cancer…for which I am very thankful. However, my negativity in my past was like a cancer in itself creating a life that truly was not worth living. I happily can say that I made a choice 5 years ago to change the trajectory of my life and now choose positivity when ever I can. As I found, negativity is a hard habit to break but once I broke through the wall and started to see my life change…it became easier and easier.

    I too am not a psychologist, psychotherapist psychiatrist or a medical professional in any manner. I am just a girl who used to live a life full of fear, worry and unhappiness and now with a few positive adjustments , so to say, look forward to each day with happiness and excitement. Life is worth living!

    Its very hard for some people to break this negativity habit…especially the one where we feel like putting down others in order to feel a little better about ourselves (this kind of negativity never works). So, trust me, learn to applaud peoples positive success…it will actually make you feel better about your own!!!

    As for the food adjustments. I have experienced, just recently, the power of eating simply healthy food. Who knew that eliminating dairy, meat and processed foods could also eliminate my husbands arthritis. Doctors kept giving him more and more pain relievers…now he no longer is on any pain relief instead he just eats healthy food. It been a year now and I am still in awe!!!

    Kris….I never saw your video. In fact this is the first I have ever even heard of your name but, I wish you the best in your life and I would be doing exactly the same as you if I were in your shoes to hang on to every moment of this wonderful life I have been given. May you keep spreading the word that you can’t control what happens to you in life but you can control how you react to these situations. Keep spreading the positivity!

    As for anyone else going through a tough situation….may you find peace and spread the love that you hold in your heart. My best to you!!!!

  6. Since eating poorly has been linked to cancer, it makes sense she encourages people to change their diets and take control of their health.

  7. If you read “How Not to Die” by Dr. Greger or “Spectrum” by Dr. Dean Ornish you will see that Kris is right about the health possibilities. She has the personality to get the good news out there – so good for her even if she hasn’t had to go through all the horrible cancer treatments. I think she is doing her best to try to avoid that as I want to do too.

    • She would not need to go through those treatments anyway because they were not advised for her cancer. And the person advising her has been charged for medical fraud.

  8. I live with basal cell carcinoma which, for readers that don’t know what this is, it’s just a slow growing skin cancer. Burn or cut it off and keep on going. I’ve also got a PhD in diabetes/obesity research, a masters in exercise physiology, and a bachelors in nutrition. Does that make me an oncologist? No. Does it make me want to sell fruit smoothies on the back of calling myself a “cancer survivor?” No. In fact,I don’t publicise it at all. Kris Carr is an opportunist in this case and relying on public ignorance to science. Sharpen up people.

  9. Fact: Cancer cells love sugar. They thrive on sugar. That is science. Fact: Chemotherapy is carcinogenic. Chemotherapy drugs have been shown to cause cancer and keep it recurring. Most oncologists won’t come out and tell you that but it is a scientific and medical fact. It causes cancer and does not kill the stem cells. It may be wonderful for some to shrink tumors and buy time but the stem cells are still there. Just waiting for you to activate them again so they can do what they do best. So… advice from someone who tells you to eat anything you want to eat so long as it puts weight on you…? Hmmm, really? From someone whose seen both sides of this, stop eating crap foods already. Just put the McDonalds down and walk away. It’s not helping you. Food either helps your body or it hinders your body, it cannot do both. it’s either good for you or bad, it is never indifferent. Food is important and the right food might very well mean life and death to some, so why not give it a try? Oh, FYI, oncologists in this country are legally bound to recommend Chemo and/or radiation as treatment. They are liable to lose their license if they recommend dietary and lifestyle changes as a means to treat cancer. They HAVE TO offer Chemo. Oncology is a huge business and Big Pharma loves when people get cancer. They rake in the dough. I know that sounds harsh but it’s true. Big Pharma does not want any of us well. They want us sick… all the time… and using the most expensive drugs on the market.

  10. I really hate people who dismiss everything that isn’t proven by science. She is not telling people to forgo traditional treatment either and while it’s not proven as a cancer remedy a healthy lifestyle that involves limiting meat and increasing fruits and vegetables has been proven scientifically to reduce ones risk of cancer that’s not woo woo at all. Yes some people try natural remedies and die of cancer. Guess what? So do people who do chemo.

    • Would you trust Pfizer with something that’s not proven yet?

      Don’t trust a bullshit artist with less proof that something is safe and effective than you expect from Pfizer.

  11. This is a tough discussion. I think Kris Carr is doing the best she can with the hand she’s dealt, but it’s hard for desperate people not to generalize and hop onto her ideas, even if unproven. Her thought may have been to help everyone feel better, but the fact that she’s making money at the expense of people who are much sicker can be offensive. This article can be read as an attack on her, or as a reminder that KC’s cancer is very rare, and that perhaps what she perceives as working may have nothing to do with her disease progression. Also, that some of her ideas aren’t practical for people who are so nauseous they can’t drink water.

  12. I watched Carr’s documentary and was troubled. I come away from it with the feeling that here is someone who jumped on the cancer bandwagon and found a means to profit from it.

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