The internet is full of nonsense ‘cures’ for cancer. Don’t be taken in

    24 May 2016

    When given a diagnosis of cancer, most people understandably go into some sort of mental shock. The prospect of many months of aggressive treatments reducing their quality of life to almost zero is hard to bear. What is worse is that this ordeal is not even a guarantee of a cure but might merely increase the chances of survival.

    Before consenting to go through with all this, most patients therefore look elsewhere in order to find out for themselves what their options are. It would be foolish to simply accept what the team of health care professionals have been saying. With decisions as important as this one, it is wise to listen to second and possibly third opinions. Who would argue with this logic?

    Many cancer patients thus go on the internet and have a look at what alternatives are on offer. There they would find virtually millions of websites advertising plenty of seemingly ‘good news’. Many claim that a wide variety of alternative therapies cures cancer; anything from colloidal silver to special diets, and from homeopathy to vitamin C.

    A patient might, for instance, find an article entitled: ‘Cancer Treatments The Media Never Talks About Could Save Your Life!’ If she does, her life is not saved; on the contrary, it is at serious risk.
    You think I am exaggerating? In this case, let me quote from this website (I made no changes other than abbreviating the passage):

    … cancer is a microbial disease, not a DNA disease… the DNA damage in cancer cells is caused by the DNA of the microbes which are inside the cancer cells. This was discovered by the Virginia Livingston team of natural medicine researchers…

    Sometimes treatments can and should be combined. For example, a High RF Frequency device (which reverts cancer cells into normal cells and also kills the microbes in the organs and bloodstream) and the Dirt Cheap Protocol (which includes treatments that primarily revert cancer cells into normal cells). This is arguably the most potent cancer treatment on this website because there is so much redundancy in accomplishing the things that are needed to survive cancer. For example, the High RF Frequency device kills microbes and parasites in the organs. However, it is a fairly expensive protocol. Its focus is on reverting cancer cells into normal cells and supercharging the immune system, but a few of the items do kill cancer cells.

    People are sometimes shocked at the attitude of some cancer researchers who have little interest in killing cancer cells. But why kill cancer cells when it is so easy to revert them into normal cells or let the immune system kill them?

    However, many of the natural medicine protocols do safely kill cancer cells or they include protocols that kill cancer cells and revert cancer cells into normal cells.

    For example, the Cellect-Budwig is designed to safely kill cancer cells, build the immune system (so the immune system can kill the cancer cells) and energize weak cells. Also the High RF Frequency Device – Plasma, which reverts cancer cells into normal cells and kills microbes and parasites in the organs, is frequently used with the Cellect-Budwig protocol…

    If you thought that this is an extreme example of irresponsible, life-threatening misinformation, you would be mistaken. The internet is full of such articles promoting treatments for which there is no good evidence, frequently encouraging patients to forego conventional treatments which might save their lives. If someone then dares to point out the dangers of following bogus advice, he will in all likelihood get attacked for being in the pocket of ‘Big Pharma’.

    And it gets worse!

    Some of us have a healthy scepticism towards dubious entrepreneurs and might therefore focus on information issued by a charitable organisation. After all, charities have a reputation of not being commercially orientated and doing their best to help desperate cancer patients. Sadly, however, this sector is contaminated with misinformation of the worst kind. Take, for instance, the Cancer Alternative Foundation, an organisation that states:

    The Cancer Alternative Foundation is a not-for-profit educational organisation, established in 2013 to explore effective alternative and traditional medicine treatments for cancer. Our research team identifies alternative cancer treatment options, then investigates them through meta-analysis across many fields of study. We are not alone in our understanding of the superior effectiveness of natural means to heal the body from cancer…

    This sort of prevarication is not just misleading, it is dangerous and arguably even criminal. To make myself perfectly clear: there currently is no alternative therapy that will cure any type of cancer, and there will never be one either.

    Even the idea of an alternative cancer cure is nonsensical. It suggests that cancer specialists would withhold life-saving treatments from their patients simply because they originated from a different tradition. The simple truth is that, as soon as any therapy shows some promise, it will be swiftly investigated by conventional scientists and doctors. If it then turns out to be successful, the treatment will be used as soon as possible for the benefit of cancer sufferers. Oncologists really do not care a hoot whether their medicines come from nature or from a factory. In fact, some of our best and most-used anti-cancer drugs initially came from the plant kingdom — think of Taxol, for instance.

    I feel strongly that I need to keep banging on about these issues. Why? Because warning patients of the many irresponsible snake-oil salesmen who merely want to exploit the most vulnerable for their own financial gain can save lives. Cancer sufferers and their friends and relatives need to be informed that alternative cancer ‘cures’ are a contradiction in terms.

    Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor at the University of Exeter, is the author of A Scientist in Wonderland and the awardee of the John Maddox Prize 2015 for standing up for science. He blogs at