Mistletow Madness

When Suzanne Somers revealed to the world she was taking mistletoe extract to treat her breast cancer , many doctors said the herb was useless. Now one study says it could be worse than useless. Dr. Alexander Eggermont, an oncologist iin Holland, has studied about 200 patients with advanced malignant melanoma, or skin cancer. He said his findings, which  have already been presented in Europe, show mistletoe might cause brain tumors. He said skin cancer metastisized on the brain in 19% of the patients who took mistletoe, but, in only 7% of the patients who did not take it. "There's strong suggestion from our data that it could, that it could harm and actually significantly harm", said Eggermont. The medical director of Weleda, a Swiss company that makes mistletoe extract, said in a statement, "Weleda cannot offer a comprehensive response because Weleda has not yet received a final report of the study." Weleda said other studies have shown mistletoe, sold as Iscar, is not only harmless, but, actually shrinks tumors." Many American oncologists say these European studies are flawed and so despite the herb's popularity in parts of Europe, American doctors have not embraced mistletoe. Dr. Molly McMullen-Laird, an internist in Michigan,  is an exception. She advises many of her patients to use conventional treatments, like chemotherapy and misteltoe. McMullen said, "By stimulating the immune system, patients almost universally say they have more energy, they sleep better, their appetite is improved. "But Dr. Larry Norton, incoming president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said there is no proof mistletoe stimulates the immune system. As for Suzanne Somers, her spokeswoman said the actress still believes in mistletoe injections. Somers said she is not telling anyone else to do this.