Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Post 1: Cancer Quackery

Arguably one of the most damaging pseudosciences is cancer quackery. As defined by National Council Against Health Fraud, cancer quackery is the promotion of false or unproven remedies for profit. I am very upset that charlatans promote such fake treatments for their personal gain. For this post, I decided to explore different forms of cancer quackery and hopefully spread awareness.

It didn't take long finding the first website that spread dubious cancer therapy claims. Simple google search of "cancer treatment" showed an ad for peggysuesurvived.com. This website tells the story of Peggy Sue, who had stage 4 cancer and experienced a full remission after she starting "natural, new cancer treatment" at a Mexican clinic. The conventional oncologists who gave up on her were stunned at her recovery that left no trace of cancer.

The website is filled with various personal accounts and testimonials of people who survived using these new therapies. I joined their email list in order to receive more information regarding their magical cures. I received several newsletter-type emails promoting the treatments. One of such claimed that Essiac tea (basically herbal tea), and Vitamin C were viable treatments.

After looking up more of such clinics I notices a pattern, all of them were located in Mexico, often in or near Tijuana. This turns is done to avoid the strict regulations imposed by the US government. The close proximity to the US border allows wealthy, uninformed, American cancer victims easy access.

The websites of these clinics often contain list of therapies they offer. One of such clinics, Oasis of Hope lists many questionable therapies, among them, most alarming: sodium bicarbonate therapy. A lot of the entries on that list are pure quackery.

 A good website to identify cancer quackery is quackwatch.org. The website contains a list of known questionable cancer therapies that is very useful.  https://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/cancer.html

Although, thinking about sodium bicarbonate as a cancer treatment may be humorous, it is important to remember that some people are actually tricked into believing this and as a result waste their life savings and put themselves in incredible danger. I hope that awareness about these scams spreads and less people are affected by them.

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