I received unsolicited treatment advice from loved ones and strangers alike. Some suggestions actually made me laugh.
When I was undergoing treatment, friends, family members, and strangers from all walks of life reached out to share ridiculous cures they believed might save my life.
I received countless emails, Facebook messages, and texts describing absurd ways to cure my cancer.
Most people truly believed they were being helpful by offering unsolicited treatment advice. To be clear, none of them had experience in the medical field.
While research may be emerging on some of these topics, none of these hacks can replace cancer treatment with an oncologist.
I seriously considered some suggestions, while others made me laugh so hard that tears streamed down my face. But I always replied the same way: “Thank you, I will look into it.”
I talked with other cancer patients about absurd cures people have recommended to them, too. I hope this list of ridiculous, well-intentioned advice makes you laugh — I sure did.
The most common cure people recommended to me was the keto diet. People often told me, “If you stick to a keto diet, your cancer will shrink, since cancer is fed by sugar alone.” (It’s not, but it’s complicated.)
At the time, I was an avid runner. I exercised in the gym multiple times a week and ate a healthy diet. Ironically, some people would tell me this over lunch while snacking on Doritos, telling me my diet choices made me sick.
Of course, I asked my doctor, who confirmed that diet alone would not cure my cancer.
We all have that one friend who loves essential oils. I am that friend.
I love diffusing essential oils in my house. It helps me feel calm and relaxed at night. However, I don’t lather essential oils all over my body.
Countless friends told me peppermint and lavender essential oils would boost my immune system. One myth says that if you apply essential oils to affected areas twice a day, it will rid your body of cancer.
I again asked my oncologist, who said it would not affect my cancer cells, according to science.
You hear about the healing power of crystals far and wide on the internet. At farmers markets, tables of beautiful moonstones and quartz are manned by enthusiastic experts. They describe which crystals can rid your body of depression and anxiety, and which can open up your creativity.
During my cancer treatment, friends sent me packages of moonstones and smoky quartz with instructions to place them “inside my bra” for up to 8 hours a day.
The myth promised to shrink my tumor “at least half its size.” While my doctor said it’s good to dream, science doesn’t support crystals as a cancer cure.
Different cultures have unique remedies for certain ailments. My Latino friends sent me Vicks VapoRub and instructed me to rub the salve on my feet, chest, and wrists to help rid my body of tumors.
While Vicks VapoRub is helpful for the common cold, it didn’t cure my cancer or shrink my tumors. But it did help me get over a stuffy nose at the time.
One friend suggested I try an asparagus diet.
Every day, a man would buy all the asparagus at the grocery store where she works. He had refused chemotherapy and decided to take this holistic approach instead. According to him, eating copious amounts of asparagus can prevent the body from growing cancer.
Another fellow cancer patient told me about advice she received from a friend: Eat broccoli sprouts to speed up healing. The whole broccoli wouldn’t work — just the sprouts.
It’s safe to say this hack won’t do the trick, either.
Some people messaged me to “use bee venom” without describing where to get it or how to use it. The suggestion was particularly absurd because of how vague it was.
I looked into it, and it may have some merit. But more research is needed before anyone can actually use it, though.
Not all suggestions were well intentioned. Strangers would tell me a certain protein shake could help and immediately send me the link to buy it. All they wanted was credit for the sale.
One man told me to buy certain lemon seeds that had cured his wife completely — only to find out his wife never even had cancer.
These scammers were preying on the vulnerability of cancer patients, not giving genuine advice.
Aside from scammers, most people want to help you get better. They may tell you to get more sun, eat seaweed, take naps without entering REM sleep, or add cinnamon to everything you eat. They love you and care about the outcome of your life.
I hope some of these ridiculous cures made you laugh. Most were sent to me with good intentions and genuine care for my health. I thanked everyone for their concern, though you certainly don’t have to.
My best advice to future cancer patients and caregivers is to take these ideas with a grain of salt — and always speak with a medical professional before trying something new.
Your oncologist will take your treatment plan seriously and advise you based on years of experience and research.
If you’ve heard of any other ridiculous cures, I’d love to hear about them in the Bezzy community forums.
Medically reviewed on October 23, 2023
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