A blog reader (thank you!) sent me some interesting info and links about warnings issued recently by the FDA (= Food and Drug Administration) to 23 companies and 2 individuals promoting various unproven cancer treatments that falsely claim to cure, treat or prevent cancer (see: http://tinyurl.com/3o89hf). I found this all so interesting and maddening at the same time that I wrote about ten pages of comments and denunciations…then did some drastic editing so I wouldn’t bore you all to tears. What follows is what is left over from my drastic bit of chopping (so I hope it makes sense!).
The following link takes you to an FDA page titled “125 fake cancer cures consumers should avoid”: http://tinyurl.com/5hfj6e. I became exceedingly concerned when I saw that curcumin is listed here, too.
Now, I agree that, even though curcumin inhibits Notch signalling (important for the well-being of cancer stem cells) etc., it will not “cure” cancer, not by itself at any rate. As far as myeloma is concerned, we have to eradicate the myeloma stem cells to achieve a cure, and that, I am afraid, is not in the immediate future.
So curcumin may not be a cure, but in my particular case (I could also cite dozens of other curcumin-taking cancer patients whose results have been even better than mine!) it has kept my myeloma inactive and stable for more than two years…not to speak of how much I have benefited from more than a few unexpected side effects: cholesterol decrease, no more infections, aches or pains, etc. etc. etc.!
No, I was not at all pleased to find curcumin mentioned on this page in the same breath as “fake.”
http://tinyurl.com/67fz7n: this FDA page is titled “Beware of Online Cancer Fraud” and contains some valid suggestions, for instance how to protect ourselves from fraudulent cancer-curing online claims. Run in the opposite direction if you read sentences such as “treats all forms of cancer,” “skin cancers disappear” and so on. I too have come across some blatantly false, even absurd, cures for cancer online…and I for one would be very glad to see these types of websites disappear into the huge cyberspace rubbish bin.
However, scrolling down this particular FDA page to “Red flags,” I had a bone to pick with the warning against anything that claims to be “non-toxic.” Now, why should “non-toxic” be considered to be a “red flag” as a general rule if, and I repeat IF!, there are scientific studies to support such a claim for a certain substance?
Let’s take curcumin, for instance. Every single scientific study that I have read so far classifies curcumin as “non-toxic.” Therefore, based on the FDA red flag warning, I should avoid taking it… right? Does that make any sense? No, thought not. This business totally irritated me, and even the fact that Italy won against France last night didn’t mollify me.
A June 17 Bloomberg article (see http://tinyurl.com/6c24mu) provides an overview of the recent FDA activity. A few sentences in particular struck me: Regulators are concerned that patients could suffer side effects or forgo treatments that work, said Michael Levy, director of the FDA’s division of new drugs and labeling compliance. And, he continues, the FDA is very concerned that consumers will purchase these products from the Internet and use them instead of products that have been proven safe and effective. “Proven safe and effective”? Wait a sec. What the heck does that mean?
Hmmm, let’s see…if I got it right, according to the FDA it’s okay to take something that might harm or poison or even kill us if we fall within the small percentage of folks who have a reaction to an approved and allegedly “safe” FDA drug (shall I tell you the FDA-approved Vioxx story?), but it’s not okay to take something that has been used by folks for centuries and that has zero toxic side effects? I see…
In sum, I would like to state that I agree with the FDA that there are a lot of bogus online claims peddling miraculous cures for cancer. I have read some of ‘em myself. So if you come across a substance that sounds intriguing, please make sure it is backed up by scientific studies (the NCBI website can be very helpful in that sense: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/).
At the same time, I am concerned that curcumin is mentioned on an FDA no-no list. I am afraid that that might scare people off, people who instead might benefit from taking curcumin. I hope that won’t happen.
It’s easy enough to sift through and separate the good information on Internet from the bad. If there is no scientific support for a product/substance, I don’t even take a second look at it. Period.