Health Advice



Beware false cancer cures on social media

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Medical hoaxes have been around for ages. The British Medical Journal even published one: In 1974, a brief case report titled "Cello Scrotum" claimed that the hard-to-sit-down condition happened -- and only to male cello players. And in the early 2000s, the more-dangerous psychic surgery fad was said to work when practitioners used slight of hand, fake blood and animal parts to convince patients that they'd been treated and their wounds had healed instantly.

Well, according to the MIT Technology Review, cancer patients today are being bombarded with ads for unproven and highly dangerous treatments on Facebook. One example the researchers give is for a vitamin-C-based mixture that, the ad claims, is "KILLING cancer." Unproven and not Food-and-Drug-Administration-approved, it is available in a Mexican clinic -- along with 20 or so other "treatments" that are a combination of expensive "therapies" with no proven benefit and substances known to cause physical harm.

If you see wild claims about cancer treatments online, it falls on you as a patient to apply strict standards to your evaluation of care options.

-- Check for documentation for the claims (in reputable journals) and a logo from Health On the Net Foundation, which means that the site follows HON's principles for reliability and credibility of information.

-- Follow only reputable sources, like the National Cancer Institute.

-- Double-check information. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is a trustworthy source for information on less-than-conventional treatments.


Remember, if you put off effective treatment by trying unproven, quick-cure schemes, your cancer may become untreatable.


Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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