The truth of the matter is researchers have yet to find a cure for cancer. Though there are many ongoing efforts around the world through clinical trials, various collaborations with projects like the Cancer Moonshot, experimental drug development, and more, there is still a long road ahead in curing the many kinds of cancer society faces.
Understandably, many people seek the elusive cancer cure through alternative treatments, but many of these so-called cures are hyped up and show no scientific or medical evidence of being effective. In fact, some of these methods may even do more harm than good.
Anti-Cancer Foods and Herbs
Many alternative cancer treatments and so-called cures revolve around the use of different foods, herbs, and spices. And while many of these food items may provide some great health benefits, there isn’t much evidence that following a certain anti-cancer diet can cure a diagnosis.
Some people have shown support of a garlic cancer cure. Research shows that garlic consumption can be beneficial to our overall health, like boosting the immune system. Some even suggest that garlic may help prevent cancer or cure certain kinds of cancer. The National Cancer Institute has officially recognized that garlic may have some preventive qualities, but also states that the amount of consumption needed to reduce risk is unclear and there may be some harm in excess consumption. There is no evidence that garlic can cure cancer.
There are also arguments for certain herbs that can cure cancer, with many arguments especially around colorectal cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer. Turmeric, and specifically the compound curcumin found in the herb, have often been touted for having cancer benefits for both treatment and cancer prevention. There have been several clinical trials around curcumin and its potential to help suppress tumor growth. A 2014 study explored the potential use of curcumin in treating mesothelioma. The clinical trial found that curcumin could help boost the presence of a protein inhibitor, PIAS3, which could help mesothelioma cells die. Though an intriguing study, more research is necessary to further explore the potential of this herb in aiding cancer treatment and becoming an addition to standard treatment protocol.
Plant foods have also been been listed many times as cancer-fighting foods. Many argue that foods like leafy greens and green vegetables can lead to reduced risk and also help block cancer growth. Foods like brussels sprouts, cruciferous vegetables, carrots, lemons and even olive oil have all often been flagged for their potential health benefits, including their presumed ability to help fight cancer.
Some cancer research has shown that consuming foods like these that are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids can help lower risk of prostate cancer. However, it’s still largely unclear how adhering to these kinds of foods, like with the Mediterranean diet, impacts cancer. There is some evidence, though, that these types of diets can help with other conditions, like diabetes, inflammation or getting over a cold.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple diet to follow that can cure or necessarily prevent cancer. That being said, certain foods, including some of the herbs and spices mentioned above, may help against certain side effects or boosting the immune system. But when considering any dietary of lifestyle changes, patients should be sure to consult their doctors to ensure it is safe.
Colloidal Silver Cures Cancer
Another cancer curing myth revolves around colloidal silver, which is a liquid containing tiny silver particles often promoted as a dietary supplement. It has been used as an alternative medicine for many conditions, like skin diseases and colon conditions. There have been many studies around colloidal silver treatment, especially after some reports claimed it could have benefits for cancer patients.
Supporters of colloidal silver claim that taking the supplement can treat cancer much faster than conventional treatments. Others have said this treatment can revert cancer cells back to normal cells, which has many advantages over treatments like chemotherapy that seek to kill cancer cells because it’s less toxic. Others have said the treatment can even be used in combination with chemotherapy and can be more effective in producing more dead cancer cells.
Either way, supporters of this treatment say it can convert cancerous cells back to normal by killing the so-called cancer microbes that made the healthy cells cancerous in the first place through the Krebs cycle and an electron transport chain. While these are actual cell processes that occur in the body, scientists have not been able to support the use of this treatment protocol.
Though silver has a long history in medicine, colloidal silver and cancer treatment shouldn’t go hand in hand. There are no quality studies available that actually prove any of the health benefits some have proclaimed. Many health organizations, including the National Institutes of Health, have been outspoken about the dangers of colloidal silver. The FDA also stated that the supplement is not considered safe or effective for any condition. Instead, these agencies have pointed out the health risks that come along with its use, like argyria, a condition where the skin turns blue-gray from a build-up of silver in the tissue. Prolonged use of colloidal silver can also cause poor absorption of antibiotics.
Essiac Tea Cancer Cure
Essiac tea was first rumored as a cancer cure back in the 1920s after it was developed by a Canadian nurse, Rene Caisse. Still today, the original recipe for the herbal remedy is a bit of a mystery, but is thought to include burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm and Turkish rhubarb in the herb combination. The tea is said to be based on a Native American remedy, but much of its origins are rather mysterious.
Caisse began to treat patients with essiac tea through the 1930s, despite having no evidence to back up her claims that it could cure cancer. The Canadian government and medical community began looking into the tea’s effects, which eventually lead to Caisse closing her clinic in 1942 because of the controversy. Despite some backlash, use of essiac tea continued after. Reports show Caisse gave another doctor, Dr. Charles Brusch in Massachusetts, samples of her tea which were then administered to some of his patients. It’s unclear if she provided Dr. Brusch with the essiac formula.
By the 1970s, more institute began investigating the clinical effects of the tea, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The results of these studies were never published, however, and reports showed that Caisse declined sharing her original recipe with any of these establishments. Since then, there has continued to be a lack of scientific evidence to support the healing claims of Caisse’s product or other similar essiac products.
Despite no evidence, reports have shown that many patients still seek out Essiac tea and related products for treating a number of conditions, including cancer. Supporters of these products claim that the tea can boost the immune system, relieve pain, decrease side effects, and promote anticancer activity. In the early 2000s, surveys from Canada and the U.S. showed 15% – 22% of breast cancer patients were using Essiac tea as part of their treatment. Though popular, Essiac tea is not supported by the Food & Drug Administration or cancer organizations as an effective cancer treatment.
Research for a Cure
As patient facing any type of cancer, it’s understandable to seek out a cure and hope for something out there that can take the disease away. Unfortunately, the world isn’t there yet, but there is always hope. Research has come a long way, even for rare cancers like mesothelioma, and hopefully we’re becoming closer each day to finding a cure.
Until then, remember to consult with your doctor about any supplemental treatments or changes to your diet and lifestyle you are considering for your cancer care. Your medical team will be able to explain what could be safe and effective for your individual case, and ensure you’re not putting yourself in danger with one of the many cancer cure myths.