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Debunking email that's full of baloney

Published January 29. 2013 05:02PM

I received an email that was labeled Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins. I found it so interesting that I was planning to write about the information included in this email.

The email begins with this statement: "After years of telling people chemotherapy is the only way to try to eliminate cancer, Johns Hopkins is finally starting to tell you there is an alternative way."

Intriguing. But first I made a mandatory visit to, the Internet's premier debunker. Sure enough, the email was a phony. It was not from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

This so-called update has been circulating for five years and it hasn't helped anyone by misleading people. The effects of this email have become such a problem that Johns Hopkins, the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society have posted warnings on their websites about the misinformation.

The experts at Johns Hopkins offer these answers (I've summarized them) to every point in this baloney that could land in your email box:

Everyone has cancer cells.

Among the trillions of cells in the human body, everyone has some abnormal or atypical cells that are like cancer cells. Most never become cancerous. Contrary to what the email contends, all patients don't have cancers-in-waiting.

A strong immune system destroys cancer.

When it comes to cancer and the immune system, it is not a matter of strong or weak as the fictional report contends, but rather an issue of recognition. The immune system simply does not recognize cancer. The cancer cell has learned to disguise itself to the immune system as a normal, healthy cell.

By deciphering the methods cancer cells use to make them invisible to the immune system, researchers have developed cancer vaccines that have successfully triggered immune reactions against prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, leukemia, and multiple myeloma.

Cancer is caused by nutritional deficiencies, and supplements will correct them.

The experts recommend a balanced diet to reduce cancer risk. Taking doses of supplements beyond what the body needs provides no added benefit.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy harms normal cells. Surgery causes cancer to spread.

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy kill cancer cells with remarkable selectivity. There are some temporary and reversible side effects common to cancer therapies, including hair loss and low blood counts. Surgery is the first line of treatment for many types of cancer. It does not cause cancer to spread.

Cancers feed on certain foods.

The premise is that if a person refrains from eating these foods, the cancer will die. According to the experts, a poor diet and obesity associated with it is a risk factor for the development of cancer. However, there is no evidence that certain foods alter the environment of an existing cancer at the cellular level and cause it to either die or grow.

Cancer is a disease of mind, body and spirit.

There is no evidence state of mind causes cancer.

Oxygen kills cancer cells.

There is no evidence that breathing deeply or receiving oxygen therapy prevents cancer.

To read the entire rebuttal on the Johns Hopkins website, go to:

The Times News, Inc., and affiliates (TIMES NEWS) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the author do not necessarily state or reflect those of the TIMES NEWS. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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