Living with cancer blog

Tips for avoiding cancer treatment scams

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. October 8, 2011

It's hard to tell sometimes, what's for real and what's a scam. Decisions about cancer treatment aren't easy. Information that you find on the Internet or may hear from others may be real, or it may be a scam. Let's talk about ways to help you make good decisions about treatment.

  • Be open and talk with your doctor about information you found on possible treatment options. Is the treatment safe for you? Ask about the science and research behind the treatment.
  • What are the risks and side effects? Ask about long-term effects as well.
  • Beware of natural and alternative treatments that claim to cure cancer. Just because it's natural, doesn't mean that it's safe.
  • One size doesn't fit all. Treatment may vary from person to person. Beware of claims and testimonials from others. Find out if the option is the right one for you by talking with your care team.
  • Check the facts. If you're not sure, or it seems too good to be true, check it out.

There are great information sites that can help you decide if the treatment is sound or a scam. A few sites on the Internet that can help you as you're searching for information are Mayo Clinic ( the Federal Trade Commission (, the Food and Drug Administration (, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (

Feel free to share your thoughts and related resources on this topic.


Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

Oct. 08, 2011