30th January 23:32
Bogus cures on internet risk thousands of patients' lives (eye cancer chemotherapy)
Thanks to one of our sisters for sending the following. . .Myrl
Bogus cures on internet risk thousands of patients' lives
By Danielle Demetriou
03 August 2004
The lives of thousands of cancer patients are at risk due to internet
websites promoting bogus cures which can cause more harm than good,
new research warned yesterday.
As a growing number of Britons embrace complementary therapies, it
emerged that the internet was replete with incorrect advice that could
potentially hasten the deaths of cancer sufferers.
From powdered shark fin to a cyanide compound found in apricot
kernels, a flood of "miracle cures" were available on the internet
which were not clinically proven. A "significant" number of websites
also advocated giving up conventional treatment such as chemotherapy
in favour of the alternative.
Professor Edzard Ernst of Exeter University, who co-led the study,
urged greater education in highlighting the potentially fatal dangers
of bogus internet cures. "This was to us quite an eye-opener and
pretty scary stuff," said Professor Ernst, the first and only
professor of complementary medicine in the country.
"Our conclusion was that a significant proportion of these websites
are actually a risk to cancer patients. Not everything that is natural
is risk-free. People should use their common sense and think twice
about the motives of these websites."
The study examined 32 of the most popular cancer treatment websites,
each of which received tens of thousands of visits every day from
around the world, and ****ysed their claims. It found that not one of
the multitude of treatments or medications advocated could be proven
to cure or prevent the onset of cancer.
Three sites, based in the UK, the US and Cyprus, were found to offer
advice that was potentially harmful to cancer sufferers. A further 16
per cent of sites actively discouraged patients from continuing with
conventional treatment as opposed to complementary therapies,
according to the research, published in the medical journal Annals of
"We found that between these 30-odd sites, 118 different cancer
'cures' were recommended," said Professor Ernst. "None of these can be
demonstrated to cure cancer. A significant proportion recommends not
using conventional treatments, which implies a significant risk to
Cancer societies warned patients against depending on internet
information. Dr Julie Sharp, of Cancer Research UK, said: "There is a
confusing amount of information about cancer treatment and
'alternative' cures available on the internet. Many of these have no
clinical or scientific basis and so it is vitally important that
patients seek advice from their doctors before embarking on any
Richard Sullivan, head of clinical programmes at Cancer Research UK,
added: "Too little is known about either the helpful or harmful
effects, particularly those associated with herbal medicines."
COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE TAKES ON CANCER
Found in the kernels of apricots, cherries, peaches and almonds,
laertrile contains a toxic cyanide compound and was first linked with
cancer cures in the 1970s. After heavy marketing in the US studies
revealed it could be harmful. Since the rise of the internet, it has
resurfaced and, although banned in the UK, tablets can be purchased
from Mexican websites.
A book published in America entitled "Sharks Do Not Get Cancer" led to
interest in shark-related medicines. The erroneous claim has prompted
a thriving market in products such as powdered shark fins, as well as
liquid capsules. Cancer Research UK warns: "There is no evidence that
it is any help at all in treating cancer."
Max Gerson set about finding cures through diets that would clean the
body of toxins including including coffee enemas, vitamin injections
and carrot juice diets. Today it is hailed as the ultimate "cancer
cure" on numerous websites. Experts warn it can inflict more harm than
good as it starves the patient of vital nutrients.
5 August 2004 08:33