Those Cancer Treatment Center Of America Commercials?

The come across as “true stories” and part of it (the cancer) I am sure is.

But I think the comments they make about the docs who saw them first and diagnosed them, I think are totally scripted.

They all say pretty much the same thing: about how gruff their doctor was in giving them the bad news: "That big burly doctor looked at me and said, “What are you smiling about? You’ve got 6 months to live!”

Sorry, but I’m not buying that those people are saying anything but what’s in the script or cue card they’re reading from.

Why do I write this?

Because the first phrase of the physician’s Hypocratic Oath is: “First do no harm”, and even though it’s verbal “harm”, I cannot believe every doctor would inform a patient in this manner. A few maybe, but not 100% of all the ones talked about in the commercials I have seen.

IANAD, and I am happy that these people are survivors, but nope, sorry, I ain’t buyin’ it. Yeah some docs are dolts and have shitty bedside manners, but this is just too much for me to take on faith.


Sounds like bullshit to me, too. Not just because the doctor gives such a definite prognosis, but because it sounds like the doctor was trying to make them feel worse. It’s sounds like a line from an awful holiday movie.

I was just thinking awhile ago about these commercials. The diagnosing doctors seem to be getting worse with each new ad. How long before one of these folks claims their doctor informed them of their test results by saying, “You happy now, you dumb bastard? I told you to quit smoking, but did you listen? Hell, no! Well, now you got cancer and it serves you right! Bleep-hole!”

:D:D:D Well, let’s say for the sake of argument that one of these docs actually sees and hears what his/her patients are saying on this commercial.

I am taking for granted that these are real folks and not actors.

If I were that doctor, and if it weren’t true, my first impulse we be to go, huh, and my second would be to get in touch with that patient and ask them why they would say such a thing (keeping in mind, of course, that it would be a case of “he said, she said” right - especially if the doc made that diagnosis on his own without a nurse present?)

I took a look at CTCOA on google, and they haven’t always had a stellar reputation.

If they paid those folks to say that (and I bet they did) and if it could be proved that it wasn’t said, I think they could be fined for deceptive advertising.

Also, if it were a PCP or Oncologist, what would be their recourse other than going to court? Can they refuse to see that patient?

Be great to get some our other med pros to chime in here.

All of the docs I see (4) are really caring and would never make a statement like those in the commercials even on a “bad day”.

I don’t know for sure, but I think it’s part of a doctor’s training to break bad news as compassionately as possible.


I doubt the doc said exactly the words quoted but I have no doubt there are doctors out there who have said some pretty damn insensitive things to patients. Doctors are people after all with good and bad traits.

Once an OB/GYN told my wife who was crying in pain “labor hurts, quit whining”. Actual words.

Another “Expert in the Field” at the University of Chicago dismissed us out of hand when we suggested that the facial tick our 2YO had could be from sinus infection pressing on the facial nerve (heard from a friend who’s child had a similar experience) . He said (actually closed to shouted) “I’m the Doctor! You don’t know anything.” Again, his actual words. Funny thing is, 2 days later another doc working under the “EitF” started the 2YO on an antibiotic treatment for a sinus infection and the tick stopped almost immediately. Go figure.

So yeah, I believe most doctors are compassionate and kind but some just have bad days and I’m sure a small few are just dicks.

I don’t like those commercials much either. I was in a support group with a woman who was going to one of those clinics. She seemed happy with it. I haven’t kept in touch with her so I can’t say if her treatment was any more successful than anyone else’s. I did remarkably well just in standard surgery/chemo plus aftercare.

The one that bothers me the most is the woman who has breast cancer, and the doctor recommends surgery. She doesn’t want to have surgery and goes to the CTCOA, by which time the cancer has spread and she has to have more surgery than she started out needing. I’m always thinking, “And so…how did that help her?”

A lot of doctors have very poor bedside manner.

Often doctors dealiing with special areas are the worst, 'cause they only do the actual medical part. For instance, a surgeon just operates while the family doctor does the follow up WITH the surgeon.

I don’t think much of the commericals but I can see how the people in them “May THINK that is what is being said to them.”

For example, a mother will say “Sorry Bobby you didn’t finish your homework, you can’t watch TV.”

The kid will say “Mommy was so mean to me.”

A lot of times there is no good way to tell people bad news so to be blunt and say it is, in the long term best.

Here’s an example, when I was 16 my mother had a heart attack and the EMTs came and were working on her and my neighbor was over at the house, the EMT told me to get her medical information and get to the hospital. My neighbor said he’d lock up the house.

So it took me about 15 minute to drive to the hospital and I got there at 12:15am. Now I am waiting in the ER waiting room and I don’t see my mother, I was after 1am and I am like did I go to the right hospital. She had a doctor at Osteopathic Hospital while the EMTs told me to go to the Catholic Hospital. Both were the same distance, but I thought maybe my mum told them to go to the hospital where her doctor is at.

So I am thinking either I am at the wrong hospital or something is very wrong if the EMTs are working on her this long. Just before 1:30am the ambulance rolls in with my mother, and she looks bad.

So five minutes later they ask me into that “room” off the ER waiting room. I’ve been in that room when my dad died.

The doctor looks at me and says, “Your mother had a massive heart attack and the outlook isn’t good.”

I said “What are her chances”

He says “Zero, she’s going to die.”

Now remember I this is the middle of the night and I’m just 16 years old, and my father is dead four years prior.

When I tell people this, people will say “Wow that was blunt.”

And I agree, but how else can you say it? I appreciated that the doctors were honest with me.

Now oddly enough not even a year later I got a job working overnights in reception at the ER in Osteopathic Hospital. And they too had that “room” off of the ER waiting area, where they gave the bad news.

And I could see how people would take and many of them would come out of the room and I could hear them and they didn’t react well. Like “My mother was fine yesterday how could she just die?” I was like “You’re mum was 85 years old, things like that CAN happen.”

So I don’t especially like those commercial, but I can see how the people in them could THNK that is what it was like

Thanks for that detailed reply, Markxxx, and I am sorry for the pain your Mum’s death must have caused you!

I DO understand that some Docs can be blunt, I sure do, but a lot can be “said” with body language. For instance, (and I don’t know if your doc did this) he might have sat down with you, gave you the news and then gave your hand a squeeze or a touch on your shoulder as he said this.

As I said, IANAD, but if I established some kind of rapport with a family whose loved one died having been on a ventilator, I kinda “stay” with them after the doc has left, in case there were questions they might have been too distraught to ask.

That wasn’t said to toot my own horn, but consider this: the patient’s physician/oncologist more than likely saw him/her more than once, yes? If his manner were gruff and blunt, might they have not both noticed this, and, in some way adjusted and/or “corrected” for it?

I admit it’s a “reach”, but I just think that whole bit of “dialogue” was for the sake of comparing CTCOA to a “normal” doctor/hospital environment, making them (CTCOA) seem more desirable.

Thanks, Markxxx!