Malibu native Elizabeth Simonton is filming an independent medical documentary, “The Simonton Documentary,” which takes a critical look at modern oncology and analyzes the role of consciousness in the treatment of cancer.
A fundraising event to benefit the documentary will take place March 27 at Charlie’s restaurant, and will include entertainment and a silent auction.
“What motivated me to start this documentary was the subject matter, plain and simple,” Simonton, 24, said. “It is my dream to share with the world the story of this magnificent doctor, my dad, Dr. O. Carl Simonton.”
The idea that emotional and psychological counseling in the treatment of cancer plays a large role in how patients will respond to their experience with the disease was a controversial topic first brought to the public’s attention in the 1960s by Dr. Simonton, a radiation oncologist who passed away last year.
Dr. Simonton conducted a four-year study in which he treated 159 cancer patients who were told they had no more than 12 months to live. Patients in this study, versus the control group of patients who received no emotional support, lived an average of twice as long. In addition, 22 percent of those living after the study ended showed no evidence of disease.
In 1981 the American Cancer Society placed Dr. Simonton on their “Quack List” otherwise known as the Unproven Methods List. He is the only board-certified radiation oncologist to ever be placed on this list, and the only person who has ever been removed from it.
The main message to be taken away from this study was that there was hope for patients deemed “terminally ill,” and that a patient could participate in their recovery and possibly influence the course of their disease.
“I have always felt that there was something unjust in the fact that more cancer patients were not informed of their own personal potential to heal or of their ability to actively participate in their health,” Simonton said. “I feel it is irresponsible for an oncologist to tell someone that there is ‘nothing more than can be done for them,’ when there is so much that can be done.
I started this documentary with no money, no equipment and no experience, but look how far we have come,” she continued. “I have learned that if you have enough courage and enough conviction, the possibility of all of life’s pursuits are truly endless.”
Tickets for the fundraiser, which takes place from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., are $20 (cash and checks only) and will be sold at the door at Charlie’s restaurant, 22821 PCH, on March 27. More information can be obtained at www. thesimontondocumentary.org.