Cancer and Miracle “Cures”

posted in: From the Caregiver | 2

Cancer and Miracle “Cures”: Don’t Offer Patients These (and why)

by Amanda Grabler, August 1, 2018


It seems inevitable. Someone is diagnosed with cancer and people pour out of the woodwork to offer up every single possible “cure” they’ve ever heard. It’s the cancer version of chain letter hoaxes. Unfortunately they tend to prey on a very vulnerable person’s hopes (even if the sender wasn’t/isn’t malicious — some do; there’s plenty of websites out there making money by tricking cancer patients). Please, please, please, do not recommend these kinds of “treatments” and “cures” to us. Teresa won’t be trying them.

Can a healthy diet help? Of course. But something we’d like people to realize is that chemo doesn’t just kill off fast growing cancer cells. It kills ALL fast growing cells. And it irritates the lining of your stomach, which in turn sends signals to your brain that it’s time to vomit. Or at least be really nauseous. So, while a healthy diet is ideal for everyone, our primary concern is that Teresa takes in enough calories to maintain her weight, enough fluids not to become dehydrated, enough iron and protein to keep things working properly, and so forth. If she feels up to eating a really healthy diet, we’ll provide it. If the chemo makes everything but sugary foods taste bad, well, then Mom will take her to Dunkin Donuts. (That happened with the first chemo, Gem/Tax. And Teresa’s not even a huge fan of sweets!)

Yes, there are some foods which are reported to have anti-cancer benefits, but everything we’ve read tells us this is helpful for possibly preventing cancer, not killing existing tumors. Yes, there are some supplements reported to help too. But not on their own (i.e. not without chemo and/or radiation). And not for all cancers.

But the bottom line is a healthy diet isn’t going to cure her.

 

  1. Coffee or castor oil enemas or anything from the Gerson diet. Worst suggestion of this came from a nurse at the surgical center last year. She should have known better.
  2. Alkaline diets.
  3. The asparagus diet. (Or, substitute asparagus with any food.) Asparagus can even be detrimental for some cancer patients (i.e. accelerate tumor growth)!
  4. Marijuana or CBD oil. It can help in controlling pain for some patients. It does not cure cancer. It is also not legal for cancer patients in Virginia, so Teresa will not be testing this out for her cancer-related pain.
  5. “Vitamin B17” aka amygdalin or laetrile aka Apricot Kernels aka Cyanide. Yes, people actually eat them. Yes, the Roanoke Co-Op actually sells them. Cancer? No cancer? Don’t eat them! Cyanide will kill you. Being dead is not a cure.
  6. Essiac Tea
  7. Anything touted as a “miracle cure”.

 

From the FTC site listed below (#8):

“Scammers take advantage of the feelings that can accompany a diagnosis of cancer. They promote unproven – and potentially dangerous – remedies like black salve, essiac tea, or laetrile with claims that the products are both “natural” and effective. But “natural” doesn’t mean either safe or effective when it comes to using these treatments for cancer. In fact, a product that is labeled “natural,” can be more than ineffective: it can be downright harmful.” (Emphasis is mine.)

 

References for further reading:

  1. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative-therapies/individual-therapies/gerson
  2. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/cancerwise/2018/04/alkaline-diet–what-cancer-patients-should-know.html
  3. http://www.aicr.org/patients-survivors/healthy-or-harmful/alkaline-diets.html
  4. https://physicianswholisten.blogspot.com/2011/06/will-asparagus-cure-cancer.html
  5. https://www.hoax-slayer.net/spurious-health-claim-asparagus-can-cure-cancer/
  6. https://www.mskcc.org/blog/truth-behind-three-natural-cures
  7. https://www.nextavenue.org/miracle-cures-often-unproven-sometimes-dangerous/
  8. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0104-cancer-treatment-scams
  9. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/complementary-alternative-therapies/individual-therapies/essiac

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