The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on teas, supplements, creams and other products that falsely claim to cure, treat or prevent cancer even though they are not agency-approved drugs. All are available for sale on the Internet.

The agency has sent 25 warning letters to companies and individuals marketing these products, FDA officials said Tuesday. Twenty-three of the letters went to domestic companies and two to foreign individuals.

FDA officials said the statements made about these products are dangerous because they could prevent a patient from seeking proper treatment for cancer. They could also harm a cancer patient by interacting with other drugs the patient is taking.

"FDA is very concerned that consumers will purchase these products on the Internet and use them instead of products that have been proven safe and effective," said Michael Levy, director of the agency's new drugs and labeling compliance division.

The letters criticized unproven claims made about these products including the ability to "destroy the enzyme on DNA responsible for cancer cells," and the power to "neutralize" carcinogens. One product's Web site had a testimonial claiming it had cured a patient's skin cancer in three days, according to one of the letters.

The ingredients of these unproven treatments include bloodroot, shark cartilage, coral calcium, cesium, ellagic acid, and a variety of mushrooms among other products.

Officials said that if the warnings are not heeded, the agency could take action including seizure of the products and criminal prosecution.

"Health fraud has been around for years, and it is a cruel form of greed," said David Elder, director of the agency's enforcement office. "Fraud involving cancer treatments can be especially heartless."

Source: AP via Yahoo News

I know of people who consume certain supplements or herbal remedies as part of their cancer treatment, or take these supplements or remedies in hopes of preventing cancer.

I think some people, myself included, are aware of some of the benefits of consuming certain herbal supplements because there have been studies published that said these remedies have been effective in shrinking cancerous tumors for example.

One of these studies involved reishi mushroom and according to Israeli scientists "molecules in the Ganoderma lucidum mushroom, commonly known as the reishi, which help supress some mechanisms involved in the progression of prostate cancer."

I wrote a post about the benefits of green tea here. "According to research reported at the Sixth International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention, sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research, a standardized green tea polyphenol preparation (Polyphenon E) limits the growth of colorectal tumors in rats treated with a substance that causes the cancer."

It is therefore not surprising that companies are making the exaggerated claims of the benefits of consuming certain supplements or foods that they market based on the results of such studies.

The conditions that the studies were made and the benefits and results that were obtained from these studies or research are entirely different from our just consuming the supplements or herbal products.

I think it is right that the FDA are cracking down on companies making these exaggerated claims of cancer treatments and cures, but at the same time I think people should do their own research and verify for themselves if there are indeed any benefits to consuming these supplements or herbal products.

People should not merely depend on herbal remedies or supplements to treat their cancers. It is dangerous for their health, and as the FDA said, the testimonies of those who claimed to have been "treated" or "cured" are not verifiable.

Further Reading:

FDA Warns Individuals and Firms to Stop Selling Fake Cancer 'Cures'

Beware of Online Cancer Fraud

125 Fake Cancer 'Cures' Consumers Should Avoid