Frauds prey on cancer sufferers


October 05, 2008|By Dan Thanh Dang

Beware of deceptive advertising for bogus cancer cures, the Federal Trade Commission warned recently.

Last month, the FTC charged 11 companies with making unsupported claims that their products cured or treated one or more types of cancers. Some of the complaints allege that the companies also falsely pointed to scientific proof to back up their product claims. The FTC says that all the companies involved will be obliged to notify people who purchased the bogus cures that there is no scientific proof to support their advertisement claims.

Consumers who bought the products are also being urged to consult with their doctors about the cures.

The products the companies marketed include essiac teas and other herbal mixtures, laetrile, black salve (a corrosive ointment) and mushroom extracts.

"Many of these products are scams," said Lydia Parnes, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "And let's face it, when you're battling cancer, the last thing you need is a scam."

In response, the FTC launched a new Web site about bogus cancer cures at For a list of the companies involved and the charges filed against them, go to

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