We all are so prone to believing the person telling us what we want to hear. The internet tempts us to believe that we can all be experts on any topic we decide to study. The problem is that the information on the internet is only as good as its source.
Last week I received the sad news that Kendra Soucie, wife of Liberty University assistant basketball coach, Brad Soucie, had died. She succumbed to an aggressive form of breast cancer called “Triple Negative Breast Cancer” (TNBC) after a two-year battle with the disease. By all accounts, Kendra was a gracious and talented Christian woman, who served Christ, her family, and her community well. Her friends and relatives testify to her faithful witness in the face of death and of the power and presence of God in her passing. She was just shy of her 50th birthday when she died. She leaves behind a husband and three children.
I wrote about Kendra back in 2019 because I heard about her battle with breast cancer being discussed by the sports broadcasters covering a Liberty game during the annual March Madness event. It was a bittersweet time for Liberty. On the one hand, they had just won their first NCAA Tournament game and on the other hand, one of their beloved family members was fighting for her life. The reason I thought it was important to write about Kendra’s case back then was because I was so alarmed to hear that she was foregoing traditional treatments like surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy for “holistic” treatments like a special diet and supplements. There is no way to know what would have happened in Kendra’s case had she taken her doctor’s advice and pursued a medically tested approach to her treatment. She had a very aggressive form of breast cancer that does not respond to the newer hormone therapies that have revolutionized breast cancer treatment in the last 20 years. Surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy have their own risks and create their own kind of suffering. Still, the 5-year survival rate for this form of breast cancer – even if it is detected after it gets into the lymph nodes – can be as high as 65-70% with proper treatment. Newer approaches to treating TNBC are in development and various clinical trials are underway which should raise survival rates in the coming years. In the absence of treatment or if treatment is delayed, this form of cancer is highly lethal.
Without speculating on all the reasons a person might forego treatments that have demonstrated efficacy for treatments which do not, it is a sad reality that the marketplace abounds with peddlers of false hopes promising “cures without poisons” and methods to “stimulate the body to heal itself.” I’ve been battling leukemia for over seven years. I’ve been there. I know the challenges of endless needles and blood draws and scans and drugs with side-effects. Someone offering a cure that requires no harsh treatments but, instead, asks me to alter my diet, adjust my exercise routine, and take some supplements is going to sound very appealing. We all are so prone to believing the person telling us what we want to hear. The internet tempts us to believe that we can all be experts on any topic we decide to study. The problem is that the information on the internet is only as good as its source, and the sources are all over the map in terms of their reliability.