Cancer Treatment Scams
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, the chances are you’re reading through endless amounts of information and facing many decisions about treatment options. You may be curious about so-called miracle cancer-fighting products — devices, pills, powders, herbs and more. These are normally 'miracle cures' you’ve seen advertised on the internet, or heard about from family and friends. Be very skeptical! Lots of these scams are by people who simply want to make a quick financial gain from vulnerable cancer patients. When you’re battling cancer, the last thing you need is a scam!
Its a good idea to talk to the doctor treating your cancer about any products you’d like to try. In many cases, these treatments can have serious repercussions. They won’t treat the cancer and they could even harm you. Asking questions is the best way to satisfy your curiosity, and manage your treatment wisely.
Curious About a Product?
Ask your doctor before you try or even buy it. The doctor treating you can tell you about the risks of a product, as well as how it might affect your current treatment or any medications you might be taking.
In your research, you may come across references to complementary and alternative medicine. Complementary therapies are meant to enhance standard medical treatments like chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Hospital staff can tell you whether there’s any proof that a complementary therapy may help reduce your discomfort or other symptoms.
On the other hand, alternative therapies are meant to replace conventional cancer treatment. Reputable cancer experts generally do not recommend alternative products or treatments because there’s little proof that they are effective against cancer. Many can even be harmful. Remember that stopping or delaying conventional treatment may have serious consequences. See my page about early diagnosis.
Are products claiming to treat or cure cancer the hot new thing, old-fashioned snake oil, or something else?
All cancers are different, and no one treatment works for every cancer or every body. Even two people with the same diagnosis may need different treatments. That’s one reason it’s best to be skeptical of websites with advertisements for products that claim to treat cancer.
Scammers take advantage of the emotional feelings that comes with a cancer diagnosis. 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 actually be harmful.
Are advertisements on websites promoting alternative or “natural” treatments and cures for cancer safe?
Bogus marketers often use trickery and vague language to take advantage of people. For example, testimonials in advertisements may appear honest and heart-felt, but they can actually be completely fake. In fact they may not disclose that actors or models have been paid to endorse the product. Even when testimonials come from people who have taken the product, personal stories aren’t reliable evidence of a cancer treatments effectiveness. Lots of technical jargon may sound impressive, but by itself, it doesn’t prove its safe or effective. Big words from a medical dictionary are no substitute for the plain facts from your doctor.
A money-back guarantee doesn’t prove that a product works. Even if the guarantee you’re promised is legitimate, a money-back guarantee definitely is not a reliable substitute for scientific evidence that a treatment is safe or effective.