ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Most Kids With Type 1 Diabetes Lack Vitamin D
Scientists ID New Genes Tied to Crohn's Disease
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
CANCER
Researchers ID Genetic Markers for Esophageal Cancer
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
CAREGIVING
Children's Bath Products Contain Contaminants
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
UV Lights, Fans May Curb TB Spread in Hospitals
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Strict Blood Sugar Lowering Won't Ease Diabetes Heart Risk
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
'Organic' May Not Mean Healthier
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Greener Neighborhoods Mean Slimmer Children
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
Air Pollution May Cause Appendicitis: Study Reveals
EYE CARE, VISION
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Sports Eye Injuries Leading Cause of Blindness in Youths
FITNESS
Almost Two-Thirds of Americans Meet Exercise Guidelines
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Afternoon Nap Might Make You Smarter
Lower Vitamin D Levels in Blacks May Up Heart Risks
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
MEN'S HEALTH
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
MENTAL HEALTH
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
SENIORS
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Money May Matter, Health-Wise, in Old Age
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Add your Article

Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients

MONDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Cancer patients often turn to the Internet as a source of information and hope. But all too often, those hopes are betrayed by purveyors of so-called cancer "cures" that are anything but, experts say.

Earlier this month, five companies were charged with making false and misleading claims for cancer cures, and settlements were reached with six other companies, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission announced. Products marketed by the companies included essiac teas and other herbal mixtures, laetrile, black salve (a corrosive ointment), and mushroom extracts.

"There is no credible scientific evidence that any of the products marketed by these companies can prevent, cure, or treat cancer of any kind," said Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection, the Associated Press reported.

In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to two dozen companies peddling everything from cure-all teas to tablets and tonics. And earlier this year, more than 100 manufacturers of such products were issued similar letters.

According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, black salves are one of the most dangerous of these fake cures. The products, which supposedly "draw out" the disease from under the skin, can actually burn the skin and cause scarring.

Which is not to say that none of these compounds has potential as cancer fighters. But consumers need to be careful.

"Many of these compounds touted as having beneficial effects have lots of lab research, but it's more selling hope in a jar based on preliminary lab research," said Sarah Wally, a nutritionist with the American Institute for Cancer Research in Washington, D.C. "That's not fair to the consumer, particularly consumers with cancer who have a really strong motivation to try anything that might offer hope."

Many of these so-called cures or preventive treatments won't actually cause harm (except to your wallet), but some can interact with regular, supervised medical treatment, Wally said.

"Antioxidants can actually interfere with chemotherapy and radiation treatment," she said. "Some people think, 'I'm just drinking juice.' But they might be drinking two gallons of juice a day of super-antioxidant juice compound, not thinking to discuss it with their doctor."

And, some consumers may actually forego lifesaving conventional treatments in favor of shams.

Here's some advice from the experts:

* "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," said Dr. Ted Gansler, director of medical content for the American Cancer Society. Beware of claims that one treatment will cure all types of cancer or more than one type of disease. Also be leery of language such as "scientific breakthrough," "miraculous cure," "secret ingredient" and "ancient remedy," as well as claims that a product is "natural" and therefore safe. And take note of claims that the product has limited availability and that the company needs advance payment.
* Find out if the product has ever been tested in humans. Laboratory and animal research is fine, but only as a starting point, not as a basis for recommending the therapy in humans, Wally said.
* "Be careful about the credentials of the people promoting the treatment," Gansler said. "The possibility that someone with no medical or scientific treatment is going to come up with a cure for cancer or other diseases is not very likely." Reliable sources of information include the American Cancer Society, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, and the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. (All have Web sites.)
* "Watch out for evidence that is only testimonial," Gansler said. "In some of the most notorious alternative clinics, people will be diagnosed with cancer who don't even have cancer and, later on, they're 'cured.' " The "patient" may actually believe he or she was cured.
* Be on the lookout for obvious factual errors. If someone says their "Stage 7" cancer has been cured, be leery. There is no "Stage 7" cancer.
* Wally advised: "Before you wholeheartedly jump into these things, you need to really sit down and have a discussion with your physician." This is especially true in an age when alternative and complementary medicines are gaining acceptance. It can be tricky distinguishing between something bogus and something that may have a benefit, Wally added.

-Amanda Gardner

More information

The FDA has more on fake cancer cures to be avoided.



SOURCES: Sarah Wally, M.S., R.D., nutritionist, American Institute for Cancer Research, Washington, D.C.; Ted Gansler, M.D., director, medical content, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; July 2008 American Institute for Cancer Research newsletter; U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Last Updated: Sept. 29, 2008

Copyright 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at www.eholistic.com