A Facebook post has shared false claims about tumours, and suggested people who find lumps should “starve the cancer” using natural remedies rather than seek treatment.
The post shares a screenshot of a post by another Facebook user, which says: “People need to understand that a tumour is there to save your life. When your body is full of poison, toxaemic and acidosis and you are basically going to die of that poison - your body builds a bag and collects all of that poison from your body in this bag, which they call a tumour.”
It goes on to claim that when a “needle biopsy” is carried out on a tumour, it “explodes and pours the poison into your body”, which is then diagnosed as cancer, concluding: “They GAVE it to you. They created it”.
These claims are inaccurate, and following this advice could cause genuine harm to people who actually require treatment for tumours or other forms of cancer.
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Tumours are not ‘bags’ of poison
Contrary to this post’s claims, a tumour is not formed by the body collecting poison and other toxic substances in a “bag”. Tumours are masses made up of cells—not fluid or other substances—and can be either benign (not cancerous) or malignant (made of cancer cells). Tumours form when cancer cells grow and divide to make more cells, and eventually one tumour can contain millions of cancer cells.
Malignant tumours can sometimes be contained in a single space, but without treatment they can grow and spread into surrounding tissues, and in advanced cases can spread to other parts of the body to form additional tumours.
It is also inaccurate to claim that needle biopsies routinely cause tumours to explode or spread “poison”. A needle biopsy is a procedure that involves using a needle to collect a small sample of cells for analysis.
There has been limited research about the possibility of a needle biopsy causing cancer cells to spread along the needle’s track, known as “tumour seeding”. However, a 2015 review of incidences of tumour seeding from prostate cancer biopsies found that the risk of this happening was very low, while a study looking at needle biopsies on pancreatic cancer patients found no increased risk of cancer recurrence in those who had the procedure.
See a GP if you are concerned about a lump
The caption of the post states: “once a lump arises there’s no need to be scared you just simply have to starve the cancer and fast with selected herbs and seamoss.”
Clearly, this is not professional advice. The NHS recommends that if you notice an unusual lump that doesn’t go away, you should make an appointment with your GP.
Not all lumps are necessarily tumours, and tumours are not always cancerous, as we’ve explained in this article. There are many different treatment options for cancerous tumours.
Over the years some have suggested that it might be possible to treat or prevent cancer by “starving” it through specific diets and natural remedies. The Facebook caption mentions this too.
Researchers are studying the impact of nutrition on cancer cells, however there is currently no evidence to support starving cancer through a specific diet or nutritional regimen in place of medical treatment.
Cancer Research says: “We don’t know yet if treatments that starve cancer cells are safe or if they work.
“It’s certainly not grounds for cancer patients to try and do it themselves by restricting their diet during treatment – and […] it could be dangerous to do so.”
Image courtesy of National Cancer Institute