Beware of Quackery and Magical Cures

Warning to unsuspecting and newly diagnosed cancer patients: Equally and more lethal than computer hackers are snake oil salesmen thriving on the internet with promises to cure all manner of cancers.

Patients are told to do research in order to decide how to deal with their disease and are often eager to search the internet for information. The problem is that even on reliable websites determining reliable medical facts and data from myths and misinformation can be challenging—confusing and even shocking.  Getting at the truths about specific cancers can be truly difficult.

To illustrate the point, we were floored to see an internet site that read: Health Alert   “Shocked Doctors Forced to Eat Crow…after patients use The 31-Day Home Cancer Cure.”  The site introduces an audio and print description of how all manner of cancers can be cured in just 31 days following a regimen that will be displayed once the reader (mark) forks up $19.95. The magician, in this case, is said to be one Ty Bollinger, who says he is not a doctor, but a former CPA and layman who has studied cancers for 15 years and who now knows more than doctors who specialize in treating cancers. Bollinger over the lengthy video talks about the “dangers” of chemo, radiation and surgery, while denigrating doctors and telling viewers that his 31-day Home Cancer Cure “costs so little that just anybody can afford it—even patients on Medicaid”…and “could save you or a loved one from dying an early death.”

It is worth repeating what we have suggested in our book that medical knowledge changes over time.  Hopefully, we are continuing to make progress in controlling cancers.  Evidence-based medicine helps physicians make well informed decisions about treatments.  Our effort is to present guidelines to patients in plain understandable language about the state of the art of cancer therapies as they evolve.  You can also use our resources and those of such organizations as the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society for good solid information.

But how do you evaluate other sources you may see on the internet? Here are some red flags that should help you decide if an internet site is NOT reputable: No contact information and no physical address;  the funding source is obscure or not verifiable; information is collected from unidentified sources; Capital letters, exclamation points, phrases such as “miracle cure”, “breakthrough”, secret  ingredient,” “all natural”’ ; undated content.

The visitor’s health information must remain confidential.  Remember that credible websites will tell you what they will do with your information and what they will not do with it.  When you see a site that promises to be too good to be true, it probably is.  Click on delete and be safe, not sorry!