Tom Hanks has lashed out at “quacks” targeting vulnerable cancer suffers by trying to sell cures that don’t work.
Hanks’ wife Rita Wilson spent 10 months battling breast cancer before getting the all-clear.
Last December, Hanks and Wilson – who have been married for 27 years – received the devastating news that she had invasive lobular carcinoma. Wilson, 58, underwent a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. The couple made the decision to go public with her diagnosis to encourage other women to have their breasts checked.
Now, with his wife through the worst of it, Hanks has spoken out against people who peddle stupid treatments that don’t work.
He told News Limited an “odd kind of backlash” came with their decision to speak openly about Wilson’s cancer battle.
“There’s a predatory philosophy that happens where people find out that you have a certain illness, particularly cancer, and they will try and make money off of you, pushing procedures that might have a degree of science to them, and there are others that are absolute quacks just trying to make money,” Hanks said.
Hanks says he found some claims “astounding”, particularly those that suggested curing cancer by eating strange foods and visiting distant clinics.
“It all adds to the difficulty, and we are lucky we can afford good medical care, but there are people who are dealing and selling in false hopes. All I can say is God bless my wife and God bless her courage.”
He’s right about that. Google “cancer” and there are inevitably suggestions that prey on those desperate for a cure. Juice cleanses normally thought of as a weight-loss tool claim to help. Other offerings include enzyme therapy, vitamins, probiotics, spices, oxygen therapy and prayer. While some of these treatments could boost immunity and overall health, suggestions they cure cancer are ridiculous and unhelpful to those seeking real help.
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For everyone who has known someone who has battled cancer and won, or even lost, we can’t help but feel grateful to Hanks for speaking out, and to Wilson for reminding women to have regular breast checks.
She warned women to trust their instincts and get a second opinion, after initially having her concerns dismissed. She told People magazine, “I hope this will encourage others to get a second opinion and to trust their instincts if something doesn’t ‘feel’ right.”
And she told the Daily Mail that she hopes her recovery gives women hope.
“I want people to know that even though you go through life altering experiences, that this beautiful thing we call life, goes on. I know that not everyone will have this good fortune but I think it’s important to let you all know that there are good stories.”
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