Why unproven alternative cancer treatments are so dangerous

miracle cure false claims health fruad graphic x

Cancer is oppressive and all-pervasive: half of us alive today will experience a direct brush with it. But despite its ubiquity, it remains poorly understood and falsehoods around it can thrive.

Online, dubious claims about cancer are rife, from outright “cures” to assertions of a conspiracy to suppress “the truth” about it. In 2016, more than half of the 20 most shared cancer articles on Facebook consisted of medically discredited claims. 

The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) non-exhaustive list of debunked claims numbers more than 187, while Wikipedia’s list of bogus cures run from “energy-based” to “spiritual healing”. Other claims involve hyperbaric oxygen therapy, cannabis oil, shark cartilage, ketogenic diets and baking soda.

Patients engaged with unproved treatments for cancer are more likely to reject conventional treatment, or delay life-saving interventions. This comes at a terrible cost; patients who subscribe to alternative approaches are more than twice as likely to die in the same period as those who rely on conventional therapies. 

Whether the problem is absence of ability or inclination, health misinformation remains widespread. It’s imperative we improve our ability to assess the avalanche of medical claims: our continued wellbeing depends on it.

Read full, original post: How to survive the fake news about cancer

Related article:  Scientists at Kenya's biosafety conference debunk GMO-cancer link blocking Africa's biotech progress
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