Signs that Advertised 'Cancer Cures' are a Scam

In September 2008, the Federal Trade Commission launched "Cure-ious?", a website that helps consumers see through bogus cancer 'cures' offered on TV, the web, and elsewhere. The website can be found at www.ftc.gov/curious, and the following content, in the public domain, comes directly from that site.

Signs of a Scam

How can you tell if websites are hawking a hot new product, old-fashioned snake oil, or something in between? These signs can help you determine whether a website or an ad is on the up-and-up.

No one treatment works for every cancer or every body

All cancers are different. Even two people with the same diagnosis may need different treatments. That’s one reason it’s best to be skeptical of websites with ads for products that claim to treat cancer.

'Natural' doesn't always mean 'effective'

Scammers take advantage of the feelings that can accompany a diagnosis of cancer. They promote unproven – and potentially dangerous – remedies like black salve, essiac tea, or laetrile with claims that the products are both “natural” and effective. But “natural” doesn’t mean either safe or effective when it comes to using these treatments for cancer. In fact, a product that is labeled “natural,” can be more than ineffective: it can be downright harmful.

Bogus marketers often use trickery and vague language to take advantage of people.

For example, testimonials in ads can seem honest and heart-felt, but they can be completely fake: in fact, they may not disclose that actors or models have been paid to endorse the product. Even when testimonials come from people who have taken the product, personal stories aren’t reliable evidence of effectiveness.

Lots of technical jargon may sound impressive, but by itself, doesn’t prove effectiveness

Big words from a medical dictionary are no substitute for the plain facts from your doctor.

A money-back guarantee doesn’t prove that a product works

Even if the guarantee that you’re promised is legitimate, a money-back guarantee definitely is not a reliable substitute for scientific evidence that a treatment is safe or effective.

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