Quacks and unscrupulous people have always taken advantage of people who are battling illnesses, and the Internet has made those people capable of spreading lies way too easily. To fight disinformation and harmful myths, the Mesothelioma Treatment Centers, a legal organization for helping victims of asbestos in the US, have released a neat infographic.
The interactive table shows the effectiveness of over 100 cancer-fighting approaches based on peer-reviewed research. These approaches vary from treatments and remedies to supplements and dietary choices. The results are displayed in handy bubbles – the bigger the bubble, the more studies have been conducted on the subject.
“We wanted to create a comprehensive and authoritative resource to help people sort through the vast amounts of information (and, unfortunately, misinformation) and options regarding cancer treatment and remedies,” Domenica D’Ottavio of Mesothelioma Treatment Centers told ScienceAlert.
Cancer is a terrible disease, with around 585,000 people in the United States dying from one of its many forms every year. It is not surprising that people feel compelled to learn and do as much as they can to get better, so it’s important they don’t waste time and money on ineffective or harmful treatments.
The infographic shows that 10 percent of supplement “remedies” are actually harmful and over one-third of them show no evidence whatsoever. Among the harmful stuff, we have black salve and in the “no evidence” category there is vitamin C, melatonin, and scorpion venom. Favorites like vitamin D, marijuana, and tea remain in the inconclusive evidence bracket.
The treatments that were most effective, unsurprisingly, are immunotherapy, surgery, and chemotherapy. “Our biggest hope is that this can help people who are researching treatments that they or their loved ones may be considering,” D’Ottavio said.
It was recently reported that a man recovering from prostate cancer turned to alternative medicine quacks, who suggested he take apricot kernels to get the compound amygdalin (which is actually in the harmful category). Apricot kernels also contain cyanide and the man almost died because of it. A study earlier this year also showed that patients using alternative medicine are more likely to die of cancer.
Check out the full infographic here.