The Cancer Act

Who to report to.

Over the last week a number of people have asked Sense About Science to clarify what the Cancer Act is and how it relates to claims of ‘miracle’ cancer cures. Blogger Josephine Jones explains things here as well as giving some examples where complaints have been effective.

In the United Kingdom, it is illegal to advertise cancer treatments under the Cancer Act (1939). Breaches of the Cancer Act should be reported to Trading Standards. Details of your local office may be found here.

To my mind, it is impossible to overstate the harm that can be done by ‘miracle’ cancer cures. They can drive a wedge between patients and their families just when they need them the most. They can give false hope to the desperately ill, persuading them to live out their days on complicated and punishing dietary regimes. Some people with treatable cancers will even refuse surgery and medication.

The full version of this post gives some examples of when complaints have been effective. It also shows some of the ways in which those selling and promoting dubious ‘miracle’ cures have been able to sidestep the Cancer Act and continue to operate, whether it be avoiding mentioning cancer, holding private seminars, or even starting a new religion.

One way we can help protect people from these misleading and dangerous claims is by getting everyone to Ask for Evidence. Asking for evidence is crucial. The more people Ask for Evidence, the more individuals and companies will come to realise they will be held accountable for the claims they make.

You can find more information including a list of cases in this post by blogger Jo Brodie.

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