Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cancer cures and conspiracies! Oh my!

Now this post on cancer cures and conspiracies hits the mark this morning.  I cannot tell you how many extensively forwarded (FWD:FWD:FWD:....) emails I have gotten, titled something to the effect of "Beware, Science points to so and so causing cancer....", where I have to scroll all the way to the bottom only to find false information. (And yes, mom, all a number of them are from you.) Example:
Bananas can cure depression, PMS, anemia, blood pressure, constipation, heartburn, mosquito bites, stress, stroke, warts - just to name a few. And it also boosts your IQ to 200!! Don't forget to pass this on!
Yup, it's that bad. I'm not saying that bananas aren't good for you, but it clearly follows the Filipino joke where we say bananas are good for acne since you won't find monkeys with pimples. If bananas were the ultimate cure all, then we should all be on banana diet. Seriously, without citing references, you cannot ascertain the credibility of these reports.  

Now, how about this one on Asparagus?
"My Mom had been taking the full-stalk canned style asparagus that she pureed and she took 4 tablespoons in the morning and 4 tablespoons later in the day... Her oncologist said she does not need to see him for 3 months."

It even goes on to cite a reference! And more - it cites case studies: 
THE ARTICLE: Several years ago, I had a man seeking asparagus for a friend who had cancer. He gave me a photocopied copy of an article, entitled, Asparagus for cancer 'printed in Cancer News Journal, December 1979. I will share it here, just as it was shared with me: I am a biochemist, and have specialized in the relation of diet to health for over 50 years. Several years ago, I learned of the discovery of Richard R. Vensal, D.D.S. that asparagus might cure cancer. Since then, I have worked with him on his project We have accumulated a number of favorable case histories. Here are a few examples
Case No. 1, A man with an almost hopeless case of Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymph glands) who was completely incapacitated. Within 1 year of starting the asparagus therapy, his doctors were unable to detect any signs of cancer, and he was back on a schedule of strenuous exercise."
Cases 2 - 4 showed the amazing effects of canned asparagus too. (Note: Jen scrolls eyes.) It ranged from curing cancer to kidney stones, and even referred to experiments done in 1739. 
Here's the point: if you're going to pass on something as a scientific information, make sure you check the references given that there are many gullible souls out there, my relatives included. And if you're citing a reference, make sure it's credible, and not on the Retraction Watch list. Alternatively, you can always check on, which has served me well in debunking such myths. In this electronic age, the internet serves as a double-edged sword.  It makes it easy to pass on false information, but thankfully, it also makes it easy to check the reliability of these purported studies. So, when you weild that sword, make sure you're not using the blunt side.


  1. kawawang mommy...

  2. Haha! I usually tell her whether the information is factual or unsubstantiated.