If you haven’t heard, on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on posted warning letters to 14 companies that are selling more than 65 fake cancer treatments.
The fake products include pills, capsules, powders, creams, teas, oils and diagnostic kits. They’re most commonly marketed and sold on media platforms, the FDA announcement reported.
The treatments are frequently advertised as “natural” and often falsely labeled as dietary supplements, the agency added. Cancer is nothing to waste time on with supplements. All cancers need immediate medical treatment by medical specialists in the cancer field. Experimenting with over the counter so called treatments wastes time in a diagnosis and legitimate treatment plan. Cancers can be encouraged to spread and sometimes rapidly when medical treatment isn’t found.
“Consumers should not use these or similar unproven products because they may be unsafe and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate and potentially lifesaving cancer diagnosis or treatment,” said Douglas Stearn. He is director of the Office of Enforcement and Import Operations in the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs.
“We encourage people to remain vigilant whether online or in a store, and avoid purchasing products marketed to treat cancer without any proof they will work,” he said in an FDA news release.
Nicole Kornspan is a consumer safety officer at the FDA. “Anyone who suffers from cancer, or knows someone who does, understands the fear and desperation that can set in. There can be a great temptation to jump at anything that appears to offer a chance for a cure.” she said in a second agency news release Tuesday.
Consumers should be wary of certain phrases often used in the marketing of these treatments. Such as “treats all forms of cancer,” “miraculously kills cancer cells and tumors,” “shrinks malignant tumors, “selectively kills cancer cells,” “more effective than chemotherapy,” “attacks cancer cells, leaving healthy cells intact,” and “cures cancer.” Unproven cancer treatments for pets are also common, according to the FDA.
The FDA has issued more than 90 warning letters in the past 10 years to companies marketing hundreds of fraudulent products making cancer claims on websites, social media and in stores, the news release noted.
There are legal ways for patients to access investigational drugs, for example, taking part in clinical trials. Information can be found at the U.S. National Cancer Institute’s clinical trial website.