February 2, 2010

Survivor Surviving

Looks like Ethan Zohn, who was the winner of "Survivor: Africa" has outwitted and outlasted cancer. Zohn was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare form of blood cancer, in May. Chemotherapy alone was unsuccessful, so Zohn underwent an autologous stem cell transplant to help replace the "zapped" blood with new "healthy" blood.

When most people hear "stem cell" there's a knee-jerk reaction to think about the right-to-life debate and all the ethical decisions that go into this political football. However, in actuality, Zohn's life was saved through a procedure that isn't all that controversial... the cells used to heal him came from his own body.

Because Zohn is a supporter of PETA (as evidenced by the picture below) some people had called him a hypocrite for using stem cells - because the research necessary to develop these procedures necessarily involves the use of animal test subjects. (PETA's own website espouses the philosophy that “Animals are not ours to exploit” and “Animals are not ours to experiment on.)

But again... in this case, no animals were harmed in the eradication of cancer from Zohn's body. In fact, I would dare to say that more harm was done to animals during Zohn's million dollar stay on the CBS reality show where many a chicken was sacrificed to the fire gods at dinner time. And yet, as Survivor prepares to enter yet another season, I don't expect to see any PETA protests, or any Tea Party activists marching outside of Jeff Probst's house to take the program off the air.

Then again, "Two and a Half Men" is still ranked in the Top 10 of the Nielsen ratings week after week, and watched religiously by a lot of the same people who would demand the show be removed from the air for its immorality if only Charlie Sheen and Jon Cryer were not portraying brothers on the show. You know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I digress... good luck to Ethan in his battle for survival. The tribe has spoken, it's time for cancer to go.


  1. Also, this was news to me, but apparently there's a type of stem cell research that the Catholic church approves: http://magazine.nd.edu/news/14238

  2. I am really glad that he survived cancer and no animals were harmed to cure him. I see why there is so much controversy. I think that as long as an animal isn't hurt in the process, we should try to find cures for certain diseases.