Cape Gazette
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Healthy Geezer

Debunking those false email cancer updates

By Fred Cicetti | Aug 23, 2012

I received an email that was labeled Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins. I found it so interesting that I was planning to write about the information included in this email.

The email begins with this statement: “After years of telling people chemotherapy is the only way to try to eliminate cancer, Johns Hopkins is finally starting to tell you there is an alternative way.”

Intriguing. But first I made a mandatory visit to Snopes.com, the internet's premier debunker. Sure enough, the email was a phony. It was not from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

This so-called update has been circulating for five years and it hasn't helped anyone by misleading people. The effects of this email have become such a problem that Johns Hopkins, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society have posted warnings on their websites about the misinformation.

The experts at Johns Hopkins offer these answers (I've summarized them) to every point in this baloney that could land in your email box:

• Everyone has cancer cells

Among the trillions of cells in the human body, everyone has some abnormal or atypical cells that are like cancer cells. Most never become cancerous. Contrary to what the email contends, all patients don't have cancers-in-waiting.

• A strong immune system destroys cancer

When it comes to cancer and the immune system, it is not a matter of strong or weak as the fictional report contends, but rather an issue of recognition. The immune system simply does not recognize cancer. The cancer cell has learned to disguise itself to the immune system as a normal, healthy cell.

By deciphering the methods cancer cells use to make them invisible to the immune system, researchers have developed cancer vaccines that have successfully triggered immune reactions against prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, leukemia and multiple myeloma.

• Cancer is caused by nutritional deficiencies, and supplements will correct them

The experts recommend a balanced diet to reduce cancer risk. Taking doses of supplements beyond what the body needs provides no added benefit.

• Chemotherapy and radiation therapy harm normal cells.

Surgery causes cancer to spread

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy kill cancer cells with remarkable selectivity. There are some temporary and reversible side effects common to cancer therapies, including hair loss and low blood counts. Surgery is the first line of treatment for many types of cancer. It does not cause cancer to spread.

• Cancers feed on certain foods

The premise is that if a person refrains from eating these foods, the cancer will die. According to the experts, a poor diet and obesity associated with it is a risk factor for the development of cancer. However, there is no evidence that certain foods alter the environment of an existing cancer at the cellular level and cause it to either die or grow.

• Cancer is a disease of mind, body and spirit

There is no evidence state of mind causes cancer.

• Oxygen kills cancer cells

There is no evidence that breathing deeply or receiving oxygen therapy prevents cancer.

If you would like to read the entire rebuttal on the Johns Hopkins website, go to: http://tinyurl.com/2b4wy5j.

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