Painting by Rick Barnett

Cancer Scams and Frankenstein

What do cancer scams and Frankenstein have in common?  Besides both being horrible caricatures of something legitimate and real, that is?  How can we compare a mythological monster to shuksters who claim they can cure your cancer?

It begins with understanding how cancer scams work.  Specifically, the false hope scams for cancer patients in an attempt to get your money.  There are other cancer scams, such as the fake cancer patient appealing to your sympathies for your support, attention, or money.  I am not talking about this scam.  People who pretend to have cancer to get something from you are despicable, and they betray family, friendships,and communities, but ultimately they are not as vile and reprehensible as those who prey on cancer patients who are already fighting for their lives.

(Frankenstein painting credit: Rick Barnet – Fine Ink Studios)

See the Scam

I got this email in my inbox today:

Dear Reader,

See the image below?

This controversial lab photo is going viral, and exposes a fatal flaw in the way mainstream medicine treats cancer.

Pulled from a new study at the University of South Florida, this series of pictures reveals a stunning reversal.

And the ramifications are HUGE for anyone who suffers from cancer, or knows someone who does.

Take a look…

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 10.45.54 PM

The researchers used “bioluminescence” to mark and illuminate the tumors and where the cancer was spreading. That’s where the colors come from.

The first mouse on your left, is your typical cancer patient, treated with chemo and radiation.

It still has all of its tumors and never went into complete remission.

But with this new discovery, the mouse made a complete transformation. The picture on the far right is the same mouse after receiving a very different therapy…

One that includes a protocol I call the “8th Element.”

In just three weeks, the tumors vanished.

All without dangerous side effects, prescription drugs, or invasive surgeries.

In fact, you can apply the 8th Element from the comfort of your home.

All the details of this cancer-killing treatment in a special report.

Click here for the shocking details on the 8th Element.

To your good health,

Al Sears, MD

How does it Work?

It offers hope.  For a price.  This scam, and the multitudes like it, use pseudo-science, lies, emotional manipulation, and just enough “true sounding” words to get you to buy into the scam and part with your money.

Hope, for a cancer patient, is a very powerful and precious emotion.  Each day, every one of us who fights this disease has to have hope for the future and, specifically, for tomorrow.  We are simultaneously hopeful and terrified of the future.  The further out into the future we think, the more terrified we get – because we’re afraid we might not be there.  As a result, anything that pushes that terror back, even for a day, and lets the hope push further into the future is a much sought-after thing.

Because we need hope like a druggie needs his next fix, we cancer fighters tend to want to believe that there just might be a miracle sure out there.  We’re biased towards belief because of our desperate fear of tomorrow, and the con artists who create these emails know this.

A Typical Cancer Patient Reaction

Imagine you’re a cancer patient, fighting for your life against a disease that is determined to beat you.  You’re scared.  You’re worried.  You’re determined.  And this email flies into your inbox, or you see it on a web page.

What do you, as a cancer patient, do?  Ignore it?  Laugh and click the “trash” icon?

Probably not.  You investigate, look into, and review everything that might have a chance of helping you in your fight against your cancer.  You are, after all, in a desperate fight for your life and any lifeline, no matter how farfetched, will be grasped at.

After all, this email looks interesting.  It might be legitimate.  It’s signed by a doctor, seemingly endorsed by USF, and shows promise in rats!  Look at the pictures – the rat is cured after 3 weeks.  Whatever the “8th Element” is, it sounds awesome!

So you click the link, go to the webpage, and get a lot of positive testimonials and, ultimately, and request for your credit card to unlock the secret of the “8th Element.”

The Truth of the Scam

Sadly, this is a scam.  The picture has been doctored and straight up lies have been told in the text.  There is nothing legitimate about this email.

A quick Google search reveals that the picture has been doctored.  The images of the mice are real, but it has had all context removed.  It’s not one mouse over time, but four mice in an experiment, with the one on the far left, the cancer-ridden mouse, as the control for the experiment.  Here is the original image:

This image clearly shows that there are four different mice, not one, and that these pictures are indicative of different diets and oxygen levels on the mice as part of the experiment – with the control left untouched – during treatment.

Clicking the source above will take you to the abstract and description of the paper written on the experiment. The experiment was, simply, how low-carb diet mixed with high-oxygen affects tumor growth during treatments.  The results are interesting!

This study, published in June 2015, was stolen by a fraud, changed, and repurposed to get you, the cancer patient, to spend money on a cure that doesn’t exist.  It’s today’s snake oil salesman.

Where does Frankenstein Fit In?

One of the underlying themes of Frankenstein, as written by Mary Shelley, is distrust of modern science.  Science is amoral, fed only by a desire to learn without understanding the consequences of the knowledge gained.  Science, especially today, is a profit machine fed by the demand for their services – should that demand lessen, profit would lessen.  And we can’t have that.

Frankenstein was created by science and wreaked havoc on mankind.  Modern cancer treatments were created by science and wreak havoc on mankind as They (whoever They are) protect the revenue it generates by squashing new innovation that threatens Them.

Cancer scams play to the cancer patients sense of fear and desperation. They try to convince the patient that there is a conspiracy against them – that they should mistrust modern and established science – but they can prevail if they learn this secret.  The secret They don’t want you to know is yours.  For only $19.99 plus tax.

What Can You Do About This?

If you’re a cancer patient, I know it’s hard to just let your doctors do their thing.  Especially if your treatments aren’t as effective as you would like them to be.  And that’s OK.  You are your own best health advocate.  You should be looking as far and as wide as you want, and no one should stop you or make you feel as if you shouldn’t.  But realize that the further afield you get, the more skepticism you should bring to the table.  There’s a reason why your doctors are prescribing the treatments they do; they tend to work, or have the highest probability of success.

Be skeptical of everything.  Question not only the “miracle cures” that you see online, but the diets that well-meaning friends say will help you, the meditation routines your Yogi says will help you heal.  Question everything.  Even your doctors.  They can make mistakes, or miss a detail.  Just remember, your doctors are highly trained and skilled professionals who have dedicated their lives to helping people like you fight, and beat, cancer.  They are not part of this mythical “establishment” trying to keep you sick by denying you what you need to survive.

Your doctors should always be able to point to research, studies, and evidence of the success of the treatments they suggest for you.  They should always be able to tell you of legitimate alternatives, if you but ask, and help you with a risk analysis of every option they present.

The con men however, such as the clown who sent me the email above, always give themselves away by not providing you the support your doctors do.  It’s easy to spot the scam email if you know what to look for:

  • They profess a secret knowledge that only they can provide you.  But they won’t tell you exactly what it is.
  • They wax on about how wondrous, amazing, or revolutionary the secret is.  The more adjectives they use, the more suspicious you should be. No cure is universal.  There are hundreds of types of cancers and what works for one will not work on another.
  • They tease you with testimonials but no science other than vague statements.  Every testimonial is a “personal” testimonial and unable to be verified.
  • They don’t have peer-reviewed studies, and may even admit it because “They” don’t want you to know about the secret.
  • They don’t present any real science, verifiable statistics, links to hospitals, experiments, or evidence of the cure other than their assurance that it works.
  • They click bait you to a screen that requires you to give your credit card to get the secret.

My suggestion to you is if you find something that sounds promising, and you are unsure, take it to your doctors.  Show them what you found and ask their opinions.  Remember, your actual doctor is not a “Them.”  He/She is a professional, fighting alongside you, sharing your joys and frustrations.  They want you to get better, and will gladly help you evaluate the treatments, diets, and “cures” you find.

Just hold on to your skepticism.  Like Frankenstein, these miracle cures are monsters that will destroy your hope, drain your wallet, and leave you broken and bleeding.  Be careful, my fellow cancer warriors.

2 Responses to “Cancer Scams and Frankenstein”

  1. No wonder there is no comment. Sensible people usually don’t give self-appointed (and quite possibly ill-informed/uneducated) skeptics any oxygen to ramble on. The blogs seem to end in 2015. I wonder what happened – Ca recurrence? Hope not.

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