How To Spot A Fake Cancer Cure

by Jane Ashley

Rumors, misinformation, distorted information, “plain ole quackery,” and shysters can make our lives as cancer patients and survivors more difficult. Fake cures, false hope, and misinformation are dangerous for us because that “fake cure” might dissuade us from choosing treatments that have been proven through clinical trials.

Sounds Too Good

How can we spot “fake cures?”

There are several clues to spotting a “fake cure.” Most fake cures pray on the newly-diagnosed or on patients whose cancer has spread — unscrupulous people only provide “false hope” to patients in deep distress.

• Fake cures won’t be covered by insurance. (NOTE: this is not the same as your insurer not initially approving a treatment recommended by your oncologist.) You’ll be asked to pay upfront with a credit card, cash, or bank transfer.
• If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
• Any “cure” that claims to cure all types of cancer.
• Any “cure” that claims to be more effective than FDA-approved treatments.
• “Personal testimonials” from actors paid for their performance.
• Promises like “money-back guarantee.”

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Trusted Treatment Information: What is the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)?

The most trusted source of factual, clinical-trial tested cancer treatment recommendations is the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, known as the NCCN. The NCCN is a not-for-profit consortium/alliance of 30 leading cancer treatment centers in the U.S. They look at their treatment successes and issue treatment guidelines for recommended treatment for each kind of cancer by stage and genetic mutation types too.
The NCCN Treatment guidelines are the Holy Grail of cancer treatment. Patients can log in and create a free account and download the guidelines for their particular cancer. The guidelines are updated whenever new treatment options are approved through the use of clinical trials and are then approved by the FDA (Federal Drug Administration).

The guidelines are extensive and complete. For example, the breast cancer guidelines come in three versions: 1) Non-invasive, 2) Invasive and 3) Metastatic.

Guidelines can be up to 100 pages. Each cancer type guideline contains:

• Questions to ask
• Illustrations
• Dictionary of terms and acronyms
• Treatment planning
• Treatment options – surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and other medicine
• Follow-up care recommendations after treatment

Nccn Logo

The website contains a resource for patient payment assistance and how to find a clinical trial.

Why do some patients consider “alternative” and “fake” cures?

We all know that cancer treatment is scary, but most of us reconcile ourselves to doing what it takes because we want to live.

However, there is so much fake news out that some people are terrified to have chemotherapy or radiation. They’ve heard, “Cancer doesn’t kill; it’s the chemo.” Disinformation about treatment is abundant and scares patients more than the disease scares them.

Some patients believe that there is no “hope” when they are diagnosed because Aunt Susie or Uncle Jake died of cancer 30 years ago. So they seek a false promise of a “fake cure” because it brings them temporary hope.


Some people don’t trust the medical community. They believe the “fake news” that Big Pharma has the cure but won’t provide it because they are making too much money selling their current treatments.

Ask any WhatNext survivor, and we’ll all tell you that we are still here because of our cancer team using traditional treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Other helpful sources to help you spot “fake cures.”

If you are wondering if something circulating the internet or recommended by a friend is legit or not, here are two reliable websites that contain extensive lists of “fake cures.”

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