(Guest post submitted by MD Anderson Cancer Center)
Aisles in grocery stores and pharmacies are stacked with vitamins, minerals, herbs or other plants that you take in pill, capsule, tablet or liquid form. And, many of us buy these supplements and take them regularly, hoping to lower our chances of getting cancer and other diseases.
But do supplements really work wonders? Should you take them to help prevent cancer? Our experts say beware.
“Don’t be fooled by the label on the bottle,” says Sally Scroggs, health education manager at MD Anderson’s Cancer Prevention Center. “Researchers are still unsure about whether or not supplements actually prevent cancer.” Some studies have suggested that supplements may actually increase cancer risk by tilting the balance of nutrients in the body. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*
I’m only a monthly contributor here, but between being a Science Based Medicine (SBM) reader and having my own blogs, I often grow weary of the blind criticism that researchers and drug companies couldn’t care less about traditional folk medicines as drug products. My laboratory spends every single day working on natural product extracts in the search for compounds that may have selective effectiveness against cancer. So this is a bit of a sore spot for me.
Two [recent] papers from Cancer Prevention Research on the potential anticancer effects of a diabetes drug (see Nathan Seppa’s story here) remind me to tell the story of a Middle Ages European herbal medicine used to treat polyuria that gave rise to one of the most widely prescribed drugs in the world, metformin (Glucophage in the U.S.). Metformin, known chemically as a biguanide, dimethylguanide to be precise, traces its roots to the plant Galega officinalis. Known as goat’s rue, French lilac, or professor weed, this plant was shown to be a rich source of guanidine and a less toxic compound later called galegin or galegine (isoamyline guanidine). Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*
EDITOR’S NOTE: Following Gary Schwitzer’s HealthNewsReview.org August 11th blog post below entitled “American Cancer Society: ‘Only’ A Fundraising Ad, Right?”, the American Cancer Society pulled its “Screening Is Seeing” ad the next day.
See Schwitzer’s follow-up post “Screening Is Seeing” Ad By American Cancer Society-Cancer Action Network (ACS-CAN) Is Pulled” and a related article by Mary Carmichael of Newsweek: ”The American Cancer Society’s Misleading New Ads.”
Also see “Common Themes In The Alzheimer’s Test Stories And The Cancer Society Screening Ad” by Schwitzer.
American Cancer Society: “Only” A Fundraising Ad, Right?
A well-intentioned ad campaign run by the American Cancer Society is too vague, and therefore may leave impressions that are imbalanced, incomplete and unsubstantiated — the kind of common tactic seen in many drug company ads. That’s my opinion based on my analysis of the ad and based on my reading of the text.
An American Cancer Society news release states:
The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) is launching a new print and online advertising campaign in congressional districts across the country this week, urging lawmakers to fully fund a lifesaving cancer prevention, early detection and diagnostic program that is celebrating 20 years of screening low income, uninsured, and medically underserved women for breast and cervical cancer. The ads also send the message that when it comes to increasing your odds of surviving cancer, access to evidence-based early detection tools is critical.
The ads reference the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), which has a track record of reducing deaths from breast and cervical cancer. The program has provided more than 9 million screening exams to more than 3 million women and diagnosed more than 40,000 cases of breast cancer and more than 2,000 cases of cervical cancer since it launched in 1990. But with limited funding, the program is able to serve fewer than 1 in 5 eligible women.
The accomplishments of the CDC NBCCEDP are noteworthy. So this blog entry is no knock on that program. It’s a criticism of the ad. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*
In yet another article addressing the war on cancer, The New York Times today tackles cancer prevention, focusing on alternative and mainstream Pharma products marketed to reduce the risk for cancer.
While author Gina Kolata seems to have done her homework when it comes to the failure of alternative medicine to prevent cancer, she has missed the story completely when it comes to telling why the medical profession and patients may have failed to embrace Big Pharma’s push to use their drugs to prevent breast and prostate cancer. Of course, that’s not surprising since almost exclusively, the experts she interviewed were those who conducted the clinical trials of these drugs. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Blog that Ate Manhattan*