46,000 HPV-related cancers annually in the USA — get the vaccine!

HPV related cancers

There are just a handful of ways to reduce your risk of cancer— one of the most important is to get the HPV vaccine to prevent HPV-associated cancers with the HPV vaccine (see Note 1).

Too many people who discuss the HPV vaccine, especially among the anti-vaccine religion, tend to focus on HPV-related cervical cancer. But HPV is linked to several dangerous and deadly cancers, and a new report examines the details of those cancers. 

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Big supplement profits – making boatloads of money in the name of pseudoscience

big supplement

I occasionally have to defend vaccine profits (or the lack thereof), but everyone seems to ignore Big Supplement profits which are far larger than vaccine profits. And vaccines have real science backing them, which is not a statement you can make about Big Supplement.

Let’s take a moment and look at the revenues and profits of Big Pharma (and a bit of Big Vaccine) and Big Supplement. The former has to work hard and provide evidence of what its drugs do, while the latter basically can sit around and throw darts at various claims, then randomly assign those claims to some new or old supplement.

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Does marijuana cure cancer? Robust scientific evidence is lacking

marijuana cure cancer

Subjectively, one of the wilder claims one can find on social media is that marijuana can cure cancer. Or cannabis prevents cancer. It doesn’t matter what form – smoked, eaten, hemp oil (which is manufactured from the seeds of cannabis plants that don’t contain much THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the active hallucinogenic agent of cannabis) – some advocates for cannabis will try to make the argument that it is some miracle drug for cancer.

But is it? Yes, there are systematic reviews that indicate that cannabis may be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting in chemotherapy. But research has generated negative results in some well-done clinical trials and some positive results in others. But that has nothing to do with actually curing or preventing cancer itself, just dealing with the effects of the treatment.

Furthermore, a 2022 systematic review (again, the pinnacle of the hierarchy of biomedical research) showed that “evidence from RCTs (randomized clinical trials) that medicinal cannabis increases appetite in people with cancer is limited.

However, this article isn’t about appetite or nausea related to cancer, it’s about whether cannabis can cure or treat cancer.

So what has real clinical and scientific research said about whether marijuana can cure cancer? Well, not to give away the conclusion, but not very much. Let’s take a look.

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Turmeric — it does not treat, cure, or prevent cancer

turmeric cancer

Cancer myths are prevalent on the internet, and one of the favorites for the past few years has been turmeric. It has been described as the great secret cancer cure, treatment, and/or prevention. But here’s the thing with these types of claims about cancer — there rarely is much evidence supporting their use clinically.

This article is going to look at what turmeric may do for cancer if anything. You can probably predict that if I’m writing about it, I’m not going to be finding much evidence, but I’ll give it a try.

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Alkaline water — don’t waste your money, it’s pure, unfettered woo

alkaline water

Every time I go to the grocery store, I see shelves stuffed with alkaline water. I always shake my head, because I happen to know what the body does with any food or water that is alkaline or acidic. It buffers it to the normal pH of the body so that alkaline water doesn’t do anything. Well, it is expensive.

There are a lot of bogus reasons to drink alkaline water, but we’re going to focus on just one of the claims — it helps prevent cancer. I’ll make this simple, no it does not.

There are so many inaccurate, misleading, and harmful claims about cancer that I could spend years just debunking them. One of the most popular assertions is that acidic blood causes cancer — that is, if you lower the pH of the blood, it creates an environment to let cancer thrive.

Now, I have written this about a hundred times on this blog (I am not kidding) — there are only a handful of scientifically sound methods to potentially lower your risk of cancer. Quit smoking is near the top. Stay out of the sun. Maintain a healthy (that is, very low) weight. Don’t drink alcohol. Get exercise. And a handful more.

And even if you do all of them, you just reduce your absolute risk, not completely eliminate it. You could randomly get a set of mutations – there are several trillion cells in the body, and even if genetic copying in cell division or transcription were 99.999% perfect, it still leaves millions of chances of mutations – that lead to cancer.

And then there are at least 200-250 different cancers, all with different causes, pathophysiologies, prognoses, and treatments. In other words, even if you found some miracle way to prevent one cancer 100% of the time, it probably will not affect the other 200 or so cancers. We have tended to conflate cancer as one disease when it is a large set of diseases that have the same general physiology but aren’t truly related.

Cancer is scary because it is so random. In many cases, the treatment is so harsh. And people are so interested in anything that may prevent cancer. And if it’s simple like “eat superfoods like kale and blueberries,” or “reduce acid in your blood,” the instinct is to try it out.

But let’s examine how and if acidic blood causes cancer. Spoiler alert – it doesn’t.

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HPV immunization herd effect — it’s reducing infection in unvaxxed

HPV immunization

Immunization against HPV (human papillomavirus) has had a positive effect not only on vaccinated individuals but also on unvaccinated females according to a new peer-reviewed study. And the unvaxxed can be thankful that more and more young men and women are getting their HPV immunization.

I am a large proponent of the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine because it prevents several different cancers. Unfortunately, this same study showed that the HPV immunization rate is still quite low compared to other vaccines.

Let’s take a look at HPV, the HPV vaccine, and this new research.

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Artificial sweeteners and cancer — what does a new study tell us

artificial sweeteners cancer

A new study of artificial sweeteners in place of real sugar seems to show a link to cancer. Of course, this starts a new set of claims that these sweeteners are dangerous and should be avoided.

But your obstreperous feathered avian or non-avian dinosaur has a different take. I don’t think the research is all that conclusive, and I’m not even sure it tells us anything about the safety of artificial sweeteners. I have a long tradition of being skeptical of research into artificial sweeteners.

As I like doing, let’s take a look at this new article and determine if it presents anything linking artificial sweeteners to cancer.

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Cancer is not a modern disease — it’s been around since the dinosaurs

cancer modern

One of the tropes that I keep reading in the vastness of the internet is that cancer is a modern disease. People keep claiming that cancer is caused by the modern diet, modern chemicals, modern lifestyle, modern agriculture, modern everything.

These trope-pushers want us to believe that our ancestors of just a few hundred years ago never got cancer because they lived some sort of magical life that avoided cancer. Well, of course, many of those people died of infectious diseases that we prevent with vaccines today, so I’m not sure their lives were so magical. And they died before they could develop cancer.

If one is going to make an extraordinary claim like “modern cancer is a man-made disease,” well I expect extraordinary evidence to support that claim. A paper published a few years ago made the claim that cancer was rare in Egyptians based on what has been seen in mummies. Let’s take a look at that, but also examine the evidence of whether cancer is a modern disease or as ancient as the earliest multicellular organisms crawling out of the ocean hundreds of millions of years ago.

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Cancer mortality rate has dropped 32% since 1991 — real medicine works

cancer mortality rate

Despite the various tropes from internet scam artists, the American Cancer Society (ACS) reports a falling cancer mortality rate in the USA. Maybe we haven’t won the “war on cancer,” but cancer is definitely losing in this metaphor.

As you know, there are so many cancer myths that make the rounds on social media. Like we’re in a massive cancer epidemic. Or that “Big Pharma is hiding a secret cancer cure. Or that our ancestors never got cancer.

But I like sticking to scientific facts, and the facts are that the cancer mortality rate is dropping fast. Maybe we can’t cure every cancer, but scientists and oncologists are getting better tools every day to increase the survivability of these cancers.

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Starving cancer is not a good way to treat it despite what the internet says

starving cancer

I am a fierce skeptic about cancer. If someone says “starving cancer is better than chemotherapy,” well that means some gullible person will take that advice and forgo more aggressive, and frankly more evidence-based, treatments. And that patient could die.

I’ve written over 200 articles related to cancer on this website. Admittedly, my interest is mainly based on the incredible harm done to people by fake cancer treatments, but others, like editors at Science-Based Medicine and the estimable Orac, are actual experts in cancer, so I’ve just limited myself to sniping from the sidelines, like debunking the nonsense about weed cures cancer. Anyway, I’ll let others do the heavy lifting in cancer articles, I’m just going to focus on the really stupid nonsense that pervades places like Facebook or Quora.

Let me start out with my strategy on cancer claims made on the internet — anyone who oversimplifies prevention, development, or treatment of cancer shall be treated with disdain unless their claims meet the standard of “extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence.” If you’re going to tell me that blueberry-kale smothies™ prevent cancer, I want extraordinary evidence in the form of meta-analyses or systematic reviews published in respected biomedical journals. Anecdotes, logical fallacies, and testimonials are NOT DATA.

Furthermore, I need to keep reminding my readers – and various people who push this nonsense – that there are hundreds of different cancers. Each of those cancers has a different etiology, pathophysiology, and treatment strategy. Starving cancer may actually be a brilliant idea – some research is involved in cutting off the blood flow to cancers. But that’s at a very localized level, and changing your diet will have approximately zero effect on cancer development and growth.

On the other hand, I guess you could starve cancer by starving one’s self. But I don’t think there would be a good prognosis and outcome for the patient, especially since eating is problematic when patients are undergoing adjuvant therapy for cancer.

Let’s take a look at the pseudoscience of starving cancer.

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