Will hot lemon water cure cancer? Facts say no!

Last Updated : 20 September 2019, 13:08 IST
Last Updated : 20 September 2019, 13:08 IST
Last Updated : 20 September 2019, 13:08 IST
Last Updated : 20 September 2019, 13:08 IST

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A WhatsApp message has been forwarded repeatedly over several years, which claims that a 'superstar' doctor has suggested three simple steps that will prevent cancer.

The message looks something like this:

"Dr xxxxxxxx: He is a famous doctor at AIIMS in the Department of Oncology. Please take a few minutes to listen to him. No one must die of cancer, except out of carelessness:

(1). The first step is to stop all sugar intake. Without sugar in your body, cancer would die a natural death.

(2). The second step - blend a whole lemon with a cup of hot water and drink it before food for about 1-3 months and cancer would disappear, says research by Maryland College of Medicine. It's 1,000 times better than chemotherapy.

(3). The third step is to drink three spoonfuls of organic coconut oil morning and night to make cancer disappear.

You can choose one of the two therapies along with avoiding sugar.

Ignorance is no excuse. I have been sharing this information for over two years. Let everyone around you know, it's sacrilege for anyone to die of cancer;

God bless....."

The name of the doctor and the designation varies according to the region.

A screenshot of the Facebook postof Cancer Society of Kashmir.
A screenshot of the Facebook post
of Cancer Society of Kashmir.

The first message received was in Malayalam as a recommendation from a doctor at the government-run Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. Later, the message came from a friend in Delhi claiming that the message was from a doctor at AIIMS. Recently, someone sent the same information with a Facebook post in Spanish. It had a request asking people to disseminate the message before pharmaceutical companies delete it. The message also had a photo of a person.

The Cancer Society Of Kashmir had also shared the same message on their Facebook page and it remains there. It has more information for a healthy life by purportedly quoting Dr Guruprasda Reddy BV from OSH State Medical University, Moscow, Russia.

Several websites have carried this as a news item and a Philippines YouTube Channel has made a video about it.

Facts: Sugar is not a cancer villain!

Let's fact-check these claims. A reverse image search of the photo in the Spanish message led to a Wikipedia page of Dr Sanjay Gupta, an American neurosurgeon and medical reporter based in Atlanta, Georgia. There is no such recommendation about cancer anywhere.

A search of the name of the quoted AIIMS doctor showed zero medical practitioners with similar names at any of the AIIMS in the country.

A search for Dr Guruprasad Reddy BV led to many pages containing the fake message but there was no sign that he is from an accredited university. Also, OSH State Medical University is not in Moscow (Russia) but in a state named Osh in Kyrgyzstan.

Internet searches also shed light on the other claims:

No cancer can be prevented by quitting sugar. Sugar is present in most food items. So, quitting sugar would mean quitting most staple foods. What about the sugar in honey, jaggery, fruits or sugarcane? The message is vague about what's acceptable. To learn about sugar and cancer, read more here.

Lemon does have some anti-cancer properties and there are several studies on the subject. However, there are no conclusions drawn about lemon's effectiveness in fighting cancer. To know more about lemons and cancer, visit this website.

Consuming coconut oil to fight cancer has not been proven. There's a study on lauric acid to aid resistance to colon cancer. Coconuts contain 50% lauric acid. The 2012 study was part of lab research to develop a chemo drug but was not meant to promote the coconut's properties. This claim appears to be misinformation. Read the abstract of the study here.

There are many fake news items forwarded on social media related to medical studies. And most do not have any basis in fact. We need to look at all such forwards with healthy scepticism and not fall into the trap of spreading misinformation.

Published 20 September 2019, 11:28 IST

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