Junk science, old wives tales and snake oil salesmen

A diagnosis of cancer makes you vulnerable to all sorts of advice much of which has no sound basis and in some cases can make matters worse. Some people who have followed the Plant Programme have set themselves up as experts and even written books recommending what you should do about everything from cooking to obtaining clean water. Unfortunately they tend to stray into junk science. For example, one book seems to think that it is possible to create trans fats in your frying pan!! So it recommends cooking in butter. This is nonsense of course. Hydrogenating fats is an industrial process that involves bubbling hydrogen through oils in the presence of a catalyst to turn them into fats solid at room temperature. The same book argues against drinking water from plastic bottles but goes on to recommend a water purifying method that relies on forcing chlorinated tap water under pressure through a plastic membrane. We strongly disagree with this and much of the other advice in this book.

There are also lots of old wives tales about food and cancer. For example some people advise against eating tomatoes, peppers or potatoes because they are in the same botanical family as deadly nightshade. None of these vegetables has been shown to cause cancer. Indeed all recent scientific evidence shows how protective they are all against the disease. We recently discussed this particular old wives tale with distinguished botanists from The Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew who were amazed that anyone could suggest such vegetables could be bad for health although they were very aware of their cancer protective properties. Also the latest science shows that contrary to old wives tales these foods are not acidic in the body. It is worth remembering that mushrooms all belong to the same botanical family and although some are very poisonous, and some are hallucinogenic many are nutritious and some are used, including in traditional Chinese medicine, to treat cancer. Another myth is that fruit contains sugar so it should be avoided to treat cancer. We have discussed this particular nonsense in depth under Food Factor 2. The worst thing about this sort of 'stuff' is that it diverts people from eliminating the foods that distinguished non aligned scientists in Europe and the US think really promote cancer.

A third problem can be pressure from snake oil salesmen to take all sorts of pills and potions for which there is no scientific justification. When some people come to see us for help they often bring with them large bags of such ' remedies' usually bought at great expense. Often they have been taking the pills for weeks but their cancer has just become worse. Almost always we persuade people to give up these 'remedies' and put them on our programme based on a simple sound eating regime with advice on avoiding harmful substances and they begin to recover. Remember that many clinics and health advisers sell their own brand pills or potions and make a substantial profit from selling them. Find out what we have to say about supplements based on sound science under Lifestyle Factor 1.

Why not join our support community and make sure you understand the basis of any advice you are given and how you can best work with your health professionals to give yourself the best chance of overcoming cancer based on sound science. It costs just £30 a year to belong.