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29 Nov 2023, Edition - 3060, Wednesday

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Is cancer merely a deficiency of B17 vitamin?

Sneha L


Medicine is not a field that has escaped conspiracy theories. From ‘HIV does not exist’ to ‘Obesity is a myth’, medicine has had its own share of conspiracy theories. The technological evolution has made a greater way for these theories to reach out but it is true that not all these theories are scientifically verified.

“Cancer is not a disease but a business” is a very familiar medical propaganda today. D Edward Griffin, an American researcher-author, backs this propaganda in his book World Without Cancer (1974) which advocates that “not only would a world without cancer lead to pay-check shock, it also would represent a blow to professional prestige”.

The book projects Cancer as a vitamin deficiency disease and vitamin B17 which is called as Laetrile as a remedy.

Laetrile is still considered as an alternative cancer cure even though there is no proof. The stated purpose of this book “is to marshal the evidence that cancer is a nutritional-deficiency disease. It is not caused by a bacterium, virus or mysterious toxin but by the absence of a substance that modern man has removed from his diet”.

Asked his opinion on this, Oncologist Dr. M. Sudhakaran said, “there are lots of controversies about this theory.

Cancer can be characterised by abnormal proliferation of cells, that is, every organ grows but then in some cases there is an uncontrollable growth – this is the basic understanding of cancer. Now, even one-year-old and seven-month-old kids get cancer. Going by this (nutritional deficiency) theory, what kind of deficiency can the kids possibly have? Also,around 60 – 70 per cent of cancer patients are cured with the drugs which we provide according to our understanding, we are not providing them vitamin B17. That theory is not scientifically proven.”

“If proliferating cells are left untreated an individual dies, how can you say this is not a disease? Anyone can say that they have a cure for cancer, but not every method is scientifically proven. The book is not worth discussion,” said Oncologist Dr. Saraschandra Bas.

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