In December I published a post on this blog about health scams. Cancer makes us and our families vulnerable. We’re often exhausted and afraid, sick and stressed, overwhelmed and confused. It’s harder to make good decisions in this state of mind. When we're sick we're even more susceptible to scams and fraud.
I included an advertisement from the Institute for Natural Healing in my post from December, calling their red-letter Facebook ad a scam. That ad promised a product (unnamed) that was a “‘better-than-chemo’ miracle” that “kills cancer DEAD—Naturally.”
I consider that ad at the very least misleading. The ad suggests that a natural product can “kill cancer DEAD,” which to me suggests a product that can cure cancer, a claim I know they can’t fulfill. Taking money for something you can’t deliver is, to my mind, a scam.
Not long after the post was published I heard from the company's owner, Angela Salerno, who agreed to answer some of my questions. I want to respond to a few of her comments in this blog. In addition, I’m reprinting my email to her and hers in return in their entirety (with her permission) in a separate blog post here.
This company is, as far as I can tell, at best a for-profit clearinghouse of information that also sells supplements. Salerno sent me the March newsletter without charge—it focused on joint issues—with a reminder that it’s proprietary. In other words, I can't quote from it or tell you about any original content.
As far as I can tell all of the information in the newsletter is easily available on the web. For instance they tell the story of rheumatologist Dr. Thomas McPherson Brown, who conducted important research on rheumatoid arthritis. I am not allowed to quote from the newsletter, so I won't. But, I don’t need to. A much more thorough report on Brown’s research about antibiotics and RA is here, at. Dr. Oz’s website. And, it’s free.
Salerno also refers me to her website that has “thousands” of articles for free. Typical among them is a report on research out of Texas A&M on peaches and breast cancer. You can read more about it at Science Daily.
My concern with the Institute is not that they aren’t telling the truth about peaches and breast cancer research. They clearly are. My concern is that they sell the information in inflated and misleading ways.
Their article uses this headline: “This Fuzzy Fruit Helps Battle Breast Cancer.” Most people will assume this means that peaches can "help battle" breast cancer in human beings, which is not, in fact, what the research reveals. Research has only been conducted on mice and is a long way from being relevant to human cancers.
No big deal if you add peaches to your diet, of course, and you can read about it for free on the Institute's website. However, the “article” ends with this, “But peaches aren’t the only natural breakthrough in fighting cancer. During our research, we came across several success stories of one natural treatment.”
Of course, this information comes at a price. And note that these are “success stories” and not research based on evidence.
Tangling with the Institute's website is a headache-inducing series of advertisements in “article” form or in videos. One video had this in small type, “This video is only online for a short period of time. You're viewing it as part of a small "test group." So watch it now while you still can.” At every single turn, this site is manipulative and misleading.
Bottom line, the Institute for Natural Health offers you "full access" to their website and a "Health Watch" report via email for one year for $98. That's it. A one-year subscription to the Natural Health Dossier, which collects information published and reported elsewhere, and pushes it out to you along with unrelenting advertisements and sales campaigns for their supplements.
They advertise the dossier as a place where you can “discover and cure cancer up to 19 months before your doctor knows you’re sick.” This outrageous claim is why I consider the web site and advertising of the Institute for Natural Health a scam. This is simply cancer fraud. A $98 subscription will not cure your cancer. And it makes me sick knowing that this company profits from telling you it will.
The following reputable websites offer tons of information about current research: Science Daily (The site contains advertising.) National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and Medlineplus. Your local public library has resource librarians who can help you locate information, mostly at no cost, from the best resources available.
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