Fact CheckHealth

Recent Facebook claims about cancer and its treatment not accurate

Claim: Cancer is not a deadly disease and can be cured using hot lemon water, coconut oil and by reducing sugar intake. 

Recent Facebook claims about cancer and its treatment not accurate

All claims by this Facebook post are false because our findings show otherwise. 

Full Text

Cancer is a large group of diseases that can start in almost any organ or tissue of the body. It happens when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, go beyond their usual boundaries to invade adjoining parts of the body or spread to other organs (metastasizing). 

Cancer is sometimes referred to as a neoplasm or malignant tumour. 

A Facebook post by Aligwo Steve Nwosu claims cancer is not a disease but an apathy. This claim was credited to a cancer specialist at Osh State Medical University in Moscow, Gupta Prasad Reddy. 

The post quoted the specialist as saying “cancer is not a deadly disease, but people die only because of apathy (that is a lack of interest).

“Cancer is not a disease, but it’s an apathy! Cancer specialist at Osh State Medical University, Moscow, Russia. Gupta Prasad Reddy (BV) says cancer is not a deadly disease, but people die only because of apathy,” part of the post read.

The post also claims cancer can be eliminated through three methods. The first method is to stop eating all kinds of sugar because, if you don’t get sugar in your body, cancer cells will end naturally. 

The second method is drinking lemon and hot water mixture on an empty stomach before eating at 2am in the morning. The post also claims a study by Maryland College of Medicine shows that this second method is a thousand times better than chemotherapy. 

The third method is to take three spoons of organic coconut oil every morning and night. 

Recent Facebook claims about cancer and its treatment not accurate
Screenshot of the Facebook post

Verification

A keyword search on Cancer specialist at Osh State Medical University, Moscow, Russia and Gupta Prasad led to a fact-check by Africa check which warned against the false cancer cure from “Dr Gupta” on Facebook. 

We also found that the said Osh State Medical University, in Moscow, Russia, is Osh State University, a public sector University, in Kyrgyz Republic. 

Another search on Maryland College of Medicine led to the University of Maryland school of medicine located at Baltimore in the United States (US). This university was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the US.

We looked at the  four claims highlighted from this Facebook post individually. 

Claim 1: Cancer is not a deadly disease

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for nearly 10 million deaths in 2020. The most common types are breast, lung, colon and rectal and prostate cancers. 

About one-third of deaths from cancer are due to tobacco use, high body mass index, alcohol consumption, low fruit and vegetable intake, and lack of physical activity. This shows that the claim that cancer is not a deadly disease is false. 

However, cancer can be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, implementing existing evidence-based prevention strategies, through early detection of cancer and management of patients who develop cancer.

Treatment options include surgery, cancer medicines, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, administered alone or in combination.

Claim 2: Cutting down sugar intake cures cancer

Low sugar intake has no correlation with cancer. 

No study in people has shown cutting down sugar intake prevents or treats cancer, nor has any study shown eating too much sugar causes cancer. 

This article by cancer.net explains that the belief that sugar is related to cancer comes from the metabolism process. So when we eat food containing carbohydrates and foods containing sugar, the body breaks it down into glucose which fuels body cells to make the energy needed to survive. 

Mayoclinic noted that both normal and cancer cells use glucose for energy. Also, cancer cells metabolise glucose faster than normal cells according to the Warburg Effect. The Warburg Effect is used in diagnosing cancer. 

In an imaging test called a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan, doctors inject radioactive glucose into the bloodstream. Since cancer cells metabolise faster, the PET scan lights up the location of cancer cells and tumours in the body. The image is used to find cancer or evaluate how well cancer treatments are working.

The various ways to prevent cancer highlighted by the WHO also does not include reducing sugar intake. This makes the claim false. 

Claim 3: Lemon and hot water mixture better than chemotherapy 

An article by the National Centre for Health Research noted that lemons are not a proven remedy against cancer of all types. This report by Deccan Herald also debunked the claim that hot lemon water cures cancer.  

Although this study highlights the importance of citrus juices and their extract in a multitargeted-pharmacological strategy, suggesting their role in the prevention of cancer as well as their possible use as co-adjuvants in modern oncological therapies,  there is no study comparing the effectiveness of lemon to chemotherapy. 

The above study suggested further experimental and clinical studies to exploit the beneficial aspects of these juices and their extracts in full.

Deccan Herald also debunked the claim that hot lemon water is a cure for cancer. 

Coconut oil and cancer 

A 2017 study on the Laurie acid, which is found in coconut oil, shows Laurie acid has anti-cancer properties for certain types of cancer,  but additional studies are needed to further corroborate its usefulness in more comprehensive therapeutic approaches.

This 2019 study shows Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO), Processed Coconut Oil (PCO) and Fractionated Coconut Oil (FCO) have anti-cancer effects and may be used for the treatment of cancer, especially liver and oral cancer.

This claim is false as these promising properties found so far need more research to be standardised as a remedy or cure. 

We also found a fact-check by fullfact.org debunking all the cures of cancer in this claim.

Conclusion

Our findings and studies show that this Facebook post consists of several claims that are false. 

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