Diet and Cancer

There is another email hoax going around. What else is new? This one is potentially dangerous. It claims to be from Johns Hopkins and contends that diet and other methods are more effective in treating cancer than surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center deals with the hoax on their web site,

In summary, these are the issues:

Hoax #1 and #2: Everyone has cancer cells

Cancer cells are genetic or alterations where cells begin abnormal growth patterns. In addition to inherited cancer risks, smoking, environmental, and other factors may trigger abnormal cell growth.

Hoax #3: A strong immune system destroys cancer

The immune system doesn’t recognize cancer. Though some therapies are being developed to help the immune system detect cancer.

Hoax #4 and #5: Cancer is caused by nutritional deficiencies and supplements will correct them

A balanced diet will help reduce cancer risk, but supplements are of no proven benefit.

Hoax #6, #7, #8, #9, and #10: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy harms normal cells and surgery spreads cancer

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are very specific in which cells are treated. There are side effects, but normal cells are just fine. Surgery is a very effective in treating cancer and it does not cause the cancer cells to spread. Cancer cells do slough off cells on their own.

Hoax #11, #12, #13, and #14: Cancers feed on certain foods

Poor diet and obesity are risk factors for cancer. But eating certain foods does not result in cancer. Everyone should have a balanced diet and exercise. Avoiding processed meats is a good idea.

Hoax #15: Cancer is a disease of body, mind, and spirit

“Cancer is a disease caused by genetic alterations.” The effects of stress and faith on cancer and general health are not yet known.

Hoax #16: Oxygen kills cancer cells

There is no evidence that oxygen effects cancer cells. In some cases, people have died using oxygen therapies.

I was going write about the benefits of diet in treating cancer. Then I thought I ought do some fact checking. I’m glad I did. The maxim still holds true, never trust anything you read on the internet or in an email. The same could be said about Glen Beck.

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