Aside from the more minor charge of misspelling the institutes name, Johns Hopkins, a hoax email suggesting ways of preventing cancer and providing inaccurate information regarding cancer treatment has been circulating the web, causing much anxiety among people with cancer and their loved ones. The email entitled “CANCER UPDATE FROM JOHN HOPKINS” was not published by Johns Hopkins nor does the medical institution endorse its contents. Below are some of the tenets of the viral document, followed by real responses from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center experts.
The email starts off like this:
AFTER YEARS OF TELLING PEOPLE CHEMOTHERAPY IS THE ONLY WAY TO TRY AND ELIMINATE CANCER, JOHN HOPKINS IS FINALLY STARTING TO TELL YOU THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE WAY …
The Hoax: Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.
The Truth: Cancer is a genetic disease resulting from a variety of mutations and alterations either inherited from our parents or, more commonly, acquired over time due to environmental exposures and behaviors, such as smoking and poor diet. These alterations turn off important cell growth regulators allowing cells to continually divide unchecked, explains Luis Diaz, a clinician-scientist in Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. This type of cell is called a malignant or cancer cell. Among the trillions of cells in the human body, inevitably everyone has some abnormal or atypical cells that possess some of the characteristics of cancer cells, most resolve themselves and never result in cancer, says Diaz.
The Hoax: When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.
The Truth: When it comes to cancer and the immune system, it is not a matter of strong or weak as the fictional report contends, but rather an issue of recognition. “The immune system simply does not recognize cancer. In its complexity, the cancer cell has learned to disguise itself to the immune system as a normal, healthy cell. Cells infected with viruses or bacteria send out danger signals setting the immune system in action. But cancer cells do not, explains Elizabeth Jaffee, co-director of cancer immunology and leading expert on cancer and the immune system.
The Hoax: Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.
The Truth: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy kills cancer cells with remarkable selectivity, says Nelson. There are some temporary and reversible side effects common to cancer therapies, including hair loss and low blood counts. Limiting and managing these side effects is an integral part of treatment.
Surgery is the first line of treatment for many types of cancer. It does not cause cancer to spread. Cancers spread to other tissues and organs as a tumor progresses and cancer cells break away from the original tumor and travel through the bloodstream to other body sites.
The Hoax: An effective way to battle cancer is to STARVE the cancer cells by not feeding it with foods it needs to multiple.
What cancer cells feed on:
a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Note: Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in colour. Better alternative is Bragg’s aminos or sea salt.
The Truth: The premise is that cancer cells feed on certain foods, and if a person refrains from eating these foods, the cancer will die. According to our experts, a poor diet and obesity associated with a poor diet is a risk factor for the development of cancer. However, there is no evidence that certain foods alter the environment of an existing cancer, at the cellular level, and cause it to either die or grow.
In the end, researchers at JH contend that traditional therapies, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, work. Evidence to that are the millions of cancer survivors in the United States today who are alive because of these therapies. They also state they recognize that treatments don’t work in every patient, or sometimes work for a while and then stops, and that there are some cancers that are more difficult to cure than others, but they say that these problems are the focus of ongoing cancer research.
To see the dispelling of the entire context of the”CANCER UPDATE FROM JOHN HOPKINS” hoax, please go to website The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center