Unregulated Cancer ‘Cures’ Abound Online

June 20, 2008 07:58 AM
by Cara McDonough
The FDA is cracking down on vendors who sell teas, supplements, creams and other products available on the Internet that claim to treat or prevent cancer.

30-Second Summary

The Food and Drug Administration says that the products are dangerous because they may prevent patients from seeking proper treatment for cancer.

“Health fraud has been around for years, and it is a cruel form of greed,” said David Elder, director of the agency’s enforcement office. “Fraud involving cancer treatments can be especially heartless.”

The products available include teas, ointments and dietary supplements. Some of the claims about the products made by vendors include the ability to “destroy the enzyme on DNA responsible for cancer cells,” and the power to “neutralize” carcinogens.

So far, the FDA has sent 25 warning letters to companies and individuals marketing these products, officials said Tuesday.

In addition to having no beneficial effects, the products could interact with other drugs a cancer patient is taking and cause problems. Not only are the products untested, but selling them violates a 1994 federal law that bans unsupported treatment claims, according to the American Cancer Society.

Some cancer patients have reported successful results using alternative medicine practices like acupuncture and massage for relief from pain and other cancer symptoms, reported U.S. News & World Report. In fact, many major medical centers now offer such services.

But untested products available online and elsewhere are another matter. The FDA’s Web site includes a list of 125 cancer “cures” consumers should avoid.

Headline Link: ‘FDA Warns About Fraudulent Cancer Treatments’

Related Topic: Approved alternative treatments for cancer

Background: Previous warnings

Reference: List of phony cures, guides to cancer and alternative medicine


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