|CANCER & TREATMENTS FOR CANCER CENTER PATIENTS PREVENTION & RISK ASSESSMENT CLINICAL TRIALS & RESEARCH LIVING WITH CANCER|
Site offers sound advice on phony cancer curesFor as long as there is sickness, there will be snake-oil salesmen. It's sad to think anyone would take advantage of people who are facing cancer, but it happens. That's why the federal trade commission has established a new web site to help people spot cancer-related scams.
The site, www.ftc.gov/curious, offers sound advice for identifying and reporting bogus products that claim to cure cancer. Douglas Blayney, M.D., medical director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, said the single best thing you can do when questions arise about supplements or alternative treatments is talk to your health-care team.
"A lot of patients are reluctant to tell their doctors what supplements they're taking, or they forget," he said. "But it's extremely important."
Supplements may interfere with cancer treatment, diminishing a drugs effects or making it toxic, he said. This is also true of prescription medications and legitimate nutritional supplements -- which is why it's essential to keep your health-care team informed.
Even cancer scams that do no physical harm exploit people at their most vulnerable moments, conning them out of money for ineffective, unproven products.
"Almost everyone who works here in the Cancer Center has been personally touched by cancer -- whether they've battled the disease themselves or watched a close family member or friend go through it," Blayney said. "If these products worked and there truly was an easy cure for cancer, we wouldnt be hiding it."
Keep reading Signs of a Cancer Scam
This article first appeared in the Winter, 2009 issue of Thrive. Read the magazine - opens as a .pdf document.