The U.S. Food and Drug Administration posted warning letters earlier this month to more than a dozen companies selling some 65 products that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancers. The government agency noted that the products are sold without FDA scrutiny or approval and are usually sold online and over social media platforms.
The makers of these fraudulent cancer cures cannot back their claims and some may be harmful to cancer patients who use them in a last-ditch effort for a cure for difficult-to-fight cancers, such as mesothelioma.
“Consumers should not use these or similar unproven products because they may be unsafe and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate and potentially life-saving cancer diagnosis or treatment,” said Douglas W. Stearn, director of the Office of Enforcement and Import Operations in the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs. “We encourage people to remain vigilant whether online or in a store, and avoid purchasing products marketed to treat cancer without any proof they will work. Patients should consult a health care professional about proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”
“The illegally sold products cited in the warning letters include a variety of product types, such as pills, topical creams, ointments, oils, drops, syrups, teas and diagnostics (such as thermography devices),” stated the FDA in a press release. “They include products marketed for use by humans or pets that make illegal, unproven claims regarding preventing, reversing or curing cancer; killing/inhibiting cancer cells or tumors; or other similar anti-cancer claims.”
The FDA notes that when they catch up with a particular company that is marketing fraudulent and illegal products online, it is easy for that company to slip through their fingers, simply because it is easy to close down one website and promptly open another.
Hence, they encourage doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals as well as consumers to report to them any adverse effects they’ve experience when purchasing these products online or elsewhere.
That’s not to say, however, that cancer patients haven’t had success with alternative and complementary therapies. Many mesothelioma patients, like long-time survivor Paul Kraus, subscribe to a strict regimen of vitamins and certain foods to keep their cancer in check.
Even many of today’s major cancer centers are beginning to admit that some of these alternative therapies make sense, not only to slow the progression of the disease but also to relieve the disease’s symptoms and the side effects of traditional treatments, such as chemotherapy.
It remains important, however, to avoid products with puffed-up claims of miraculous cures. Usually, where such products are concerned, the old adage “too good to be true” usually comes into play.
Instead, patients looking for answers about alternative treatments should research the stories of survivors like Paul Kraus, who was diagnosed in 1997 with malignant pleural mesothelioma, to learn what these individuals have done to prolong their lives.