Cancer Cautions and Myths

If you read or hear about a product that says it can cure cancer, talk to your doctor, do some research, and ask some serious questions.

Just as for any other type of product, if the cancer treatment claims sound too good to be true, then they probably are not true. When you read claims such as those below, it’s a good idea to be skeptical and find out more before trying the product.

Watch out for these "red flag" claims:

  • This product is safe because it is natural.
  • It treats cancer without side effects.
  • It is easy and painless.
  • It cures all types of cancer.

Sorting Out Alternative Medical Claims

The following factors point to a possible scam:

  • A single doctor, rather than a national group of doctors, backs the product.
  • Focuses on testimonials from other cancer patients, not research evidence.
  • Claims that doctors don’t want cancer patients to know about the product.
  • Urges stopping or delaying ongoing cancer treatment.

Health information, whether in print or online, should come from a trusted, credible source. Government agencies, hospitals, universities, and medical journals and books that provide evidenced-based information are sources you can trust. Learn more about using trusted resources from the National Cancer Institute.

Be sure your health care providers know about all the medicines and dietary supplements you take. Even natural and herbal products can interfere with cancer treatment drugs. Also, talk with your health care providers before you try any new treatment or supplement.

At Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), we use a comprehensive, holistic approach to cancer care that involves evidence-based medicine to treat the body, mind, and spirit. Complementary and integrative therapies are used along with standard treatments (such as surgery and chemotherapy) to help treat cancer, reduce symptoms and side effects, and improve overall wellness. Some examples include acupuncture, massage therapy, nutritional support, yoga, and meditation. To learn more visit the Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness and Integrative Health Center.

This video produced by the Federal Trade Commission talks about evaluating online sources of health information and avoiding cancer treatment scams:

Although research has made many discoveries to better prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer, there is still a lot we don't know about the disease. The unknowns of cancer sometimes lead to misinformation and myths. The information on this page is meant to help dispell some common myths about cancer and provide some resources to find accurate, evidence-based information if you have questions.

Common Cancer Myths and Misconceptions (National Cancer Institute)

Understanding Cancer Causes and Risk Factors (National Cancer Institute)

This video produced by the Federal Trade Commission talks about evaluating online sources of health information and avoiding cancer treatment scams: