For as long as there is sickness, there will be snake-oil salesmen. It’s sad to think anyone would take advantage of people who are facing cancer, but it happens. The Federal Trade Commission web site includes a consumer information article with advice to help people spot cancer-related scams.
It offers sound advice for identifying and reporting bogus products that claim to cure cancer. In fact, the single best thing you can do when questions arise about supplements or alternative treatments is talk to your health care team.
Even cancer scams that do no physical harm exploit people at their most vulnerable moments, conning them out of money for ineffective, unproven products.
Keep these pointers in mind:
- No one treatment works for every cancer or every person; be skeptical of products that make broad claims to treat cancer.
- Natural doesn’t mean effective — or safe.
- Bogus marketers use trickery and vague language. Testimonials may be fake — and even if they aren’t, one person’s story may have nothing at all to do with your cancer diagnosis.
- Scammers may use big words from a medical dictionary to sound impressive. But what does it really mean? Ask your doctor for the plain-language translation.
- A money-back guarantee doesn’t mean a product works.
U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center: Separating Scams from Supplements
National Cancer Institute: Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Federal Trade Commission: Scam Alerts