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Don’t believe remedy that ‘cures the disease effectively’ – there is still no one-size-fits-all cure for cancer

IN SHORT: Cancer is a large group of diseases, with a variety of treatments tailored to the type of cancer and how far it has progressed. Claims that a herbal remedy offers a cure are irresponsible and should be ignored.

“Cancer is a very common disease nowadays. It is manifested by the tumor, breast cancer, cancer of the cervix, prostate, blood and many other forms.”  That’s according to a post on Facebook, claiming to have the remedy for cancer.

The post says this remedy “cures the disease effectively” and is only made from a few fresh ingredients: aloe vera, fresh ginger, pineapple and soursop. 

The post says to clean, wash and peel all the ingredients, then blend them together. Then: “Drink one cup in the morning and one in the evening for one month then go see a doctor to get the results".

It advises taking this “herbal remedy” until “the patient is totally and completely cured”, which should be tested “on a monthly basis to ascertain his/her condition”.

The claim has been doing the rounds on Facebook in South Africa and Nigeria in May 2023. The same claim also circulated in 2020 here, here and here.

Africa Check has debunked its fair share of false cancer cures and remedies. Is this mixture any different? 


No one-size-fits-all cure for all cancer types

Cancer is a large group of diseases where abnormal cells in the body grow uncontrollably and destroy healthy surrounding tissue.

There are many different types of cancer and they are normally named after the cell type where the cancer begins. For example, lung cancer begins in the lungs and cervical cancer begins in the cells of the cervix.

There are several treatment options for cancer, mostly depending on the type of cancer and the stage of its progression. More common treatments include surgery to remove cancerous tumours; chemotherapy, using drugs to kill cancer cells; and radiation therapy, using high-powered energy beams to kill cancer cells.

But there is no one-size-fits-all cure for all cancer types. 

Although treatment can lead to remission, where the disease is controlled and a patient feels better, “it’s rare that a doctor can be sure that cancer will never come back,” says the American Cancer Society.

Already debunked: no evidence soursop or pineapple can cure cancer

Africa Check has already debunked posts claiming that pineapple and soursop can cure cancer.

We found that pineapples do contain an enzyme named brolain, which is associated with cancer treatment, and the fruit has been promoted as a dietary supplement for cancer.

But this does not mean pineapple can cure cancer.

Soursop is a tree of the custard apple family and the white flesh of its fruit can be eaten fresh but is also often strained to make custards and drinks. 

There has been some evidence for soursop’s role in killing cancer cells or fighting inflammation. But these findings come from studies using test-tube analysis of human cells and animal studies, not studies directly conducted with humans.

There is currently no evidence that soursop can cure cancer in humans.

‘Aloe may cause severe side effects when used as a cancer treatment’

Aloe vera is a plant known for its thick, pointed leaves filled with a gelatinous substance.

Besides being applied to the skin to soothe sunburns, aloe vera has been used in cosmetics and medicine due to its antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Studies have been conducted to assess aloe and its effect on cancer. While aloe may have some anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects, the studies are also limited to test-tube analysis.

Both the US-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Cancer Research UK say there is no evidence to prove that aloe can cure cancer.

“Aloe may cause severe side effects when used as a cancer treatment,” says Cancer Research UK.

What about ginger?

A few studies have noted that ginger may help with nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy, a treatment for cancer.

As with the other ingredients listed in the Facebook post, there are some studies that have investigated the potential anti-cancer benefit of ginger but this does not mean it is a definite cure for all cancers.

Africa Check previously found that ginger cures should be interrogated scientifically before being used to treat any diseases.

There is no evidence that any of the four ingredients in the “remedy” touted on Facebook can cure all cancers. It’s irresponsible to give cancer sufferers and their families false hope, and these posts should be ignored.

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