Millions of people all over the world suffer from many different types of cancer, with 1 in 4 deaths attributed to the disease in America alone. Billions of dollars are spent each year on researching cures and treating sufferers.
Conventional forms of cancer treatment such as chemotherapy, which can prove costly and traumatic, have been maligned by some who turn to herbal, topical and other natural supplements to help deter diseases such as skin and prostate cancers. Although many of these supplements have positive effects, helping to alleviate the symptoms of certain ailments or of chemotherapy treatment itself, many medical professionals warn that the vast majority are not effective in treating, let alone curing, life-threatening cancers.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, there are over 180 herbal products that have been purported to effectively treat and cure cancer. The creators and marketers of these products have misleadingly described the supplements as a drug. In addition to a lengthy list published on the FDA’s website of what they consider “fake” cures, the FDA sent formal letters to all of the sellers who erroneously market their natural supplement products as cancer remedies. As a result of their letters, many of these were compelled to change their marketing language to more accurately represent the medicinal properties of their products – or lack thereof.
Certified medical professionals and doctors are specially trained for years to diagnose and treat cancers. This includes the use of the latest in medical research, therapies and technologies. As such, they are generally the only ones qualified to determine what treatment is the most effective for a patient based on the particular type of cancer, medical history and other important variables.
The following are 10 of the most commonly cited and strangest purported ‘natural’ cures for cancer. Always consult a medical doctor before committing to a treatment.
Dichloroacetate (DCA) has been used by doctors in combination with other ingredients for skin care products. In general use, chloro plasma is said to smooth wrinkles and help regenerate the skin with an “anti-aging” formula. However, there is no evidence to support that it can treat or cure any type of skin cancer. Although it has been purported by some sellers to be a “miracle drug”, DCA did not prove itself as an effective treatment after clinical trials, according to Dr. Len of the American Cancer Society. Dr. Len also cautions people not to become a victim of the “cancer scam”.
9. Agaricus Dried Grade A Powder
Agaricus is a type of mushroom generally found in North America. Although species of the mushroom can be edible, many forms of it are also poisonous. Despite being shown to kill certain cancer cell lines, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, it can have adverse effects such as hepatic dysfunction in cancer patients. In case studies, it has been shown to have positive benefits for patients undergoing chemotherapy, but there is still no conclusive scientific evidence that it can cure cancer altogether.
8. Indian Mud Mix
Indian Mud Mix is a clay once used by the Aztecs for its alleged healing properties. Its use for treating skin cancer can have extremely detrimental effects to the skin – effects that are similar to third-degree burns. Dermatologist Dr. Donald Steele adamantly disagrees that it can be a positive treatment for skin cancer. Not only is it not an effective form of treatment, he warns that Indian mud mix is so poisonous, it can literally eat away at human flesh. In addition, it’s impossible to accurately identify all the components in Indian mud mix products because they are not regulated by any independent group in either the United States or Canada.
7. Grape Seed Extract
Grapes have been used to help heal a variety of ailments since the days of ancient Egypt, including cholera and smallpox. Many people today believe that grape seed extract can be used to successfully treat cancer because of its antioxidant properties. However, the majority of studies on its effects on cancers have primarily been limited to test tubes or animals. According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, there is no substantial evidence that grape seed extract can have similar effects in humans. However, the extract may prevent the damage of liver cells that occurs during chemotherapy.
6. Bloodroot Extract
Bloodroot is a wildflower that grows in parts of North America including Florida and Alabama. Its main bioactive component is sanguinarine, which is known to be antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Primary used as a topical treatment for skin cancer, the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre claims that prolonged use of such treatments can lead to severe disfigurement. According to a case report involving two men – one with a clean medical history and the other with a history of colon cancer – the use of bloodroot to treat skin lesions made the lesions much worse. Both men had to be hospitalized.
5. Saw Palmetto Cream
The medicinal effects of saw palmetto come from the plant’s ripe fruit. It’s usually used to treat diseases affecting the prostate, and for flu symptoms like sore throat, cough and fever. Although it is generally safe for treating an enlarged prostate, there is a lack of scientific evidence to prove that it has any positive effects on prostate cancers. The U.S. Library of Medicine reports that there is insufficient evidence to support that saw palmetto can cure cancer.
4. Wild Yam Cream
Wild yam comes from a Mexican vine also native to North America. Also known as the Chinese yam, it can be used as a herbal remedy to treat a variety of illnesses. According to the American Cancer Society (AMC), marketers of the herbal supplement claimed that wild yam cream can be more effective than other therapies in reducing breast cancer in women. They also claimed that it can help women lose weight and increase their libido. If not taken in proper doses, however, wild yam cream can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. As the AMC warns, avoiding scientifically-proven cancer treatments like chemotherapy in favour of herbal supplements like yam cream can have serious and detrimental health effects.
3. Ocean Treasure Coral Calcium Colostrum
Colostrum is a fluid produced by women shortly after giving birth to help pass on immunity factors through breast milk. According to some doctors, calcium colostrum can have a therapeutic effect by giving cancer patients more energy and reducing the number of infections. However, according to the FDA and the American Society of Registered Nurses, calcium colostrum is not a pharmaceutical drug. They warn that patients should be weary of marketers who claim it has substantial medicinal effects. This is especially true for sellers who claim colostrum from “ocean treasure” coral can cure cancer.
2. Cat’s Claw
Cat’s claw is a woody vine native to the Amazonian rainforest. Natives of the Amazon and Central America have used the vine to treat a range of ailments including arthritis, inflammation and fever. Cat’s claw has been known to have antibodies that kill those potentially damaging particles called “free radicals”. Doctors believe that free radical particles are partially responsible for cancer and, in early studies, cat’s claw has been shown to kill certain cancerous tumours. However, according to the FDA, it still not conclusively proven that it can cure cancer, and it should not be marketed as such.
1. Pacific Ocean Shark Cartilage
The scientific basis for the use of shark cartilage as a cancer cure is that sharks are naturally immune to the disease. It comes in many forms such as a powder or liquid, but the claims that it can successfully cure cancer are unsubstantiated, according to the FDA. Although some studies have suggested it can slow the growth of certain blood vessels, clinical trials on humans have never been successfully performed. In fact, in one study with 50 participants, shark cartilage was shown to have absolutely no medicinal effect on humans.