Former model claims to cure cancer by eating pineapples.
Former model Candice-Marie Fox is the latest self-made health guru to take to social media and spruik an alternative cure for cancer.
The 31-year-old says that three years ago she was diagnosed with stage four thyroid cancer and underwent invasive surgery to remove more than 20 cancerous lumps.
When the cancer continued to spread, she rejected the chemotherapy recommended by her doctors, claiming it had “killed” her best friend and cousin.
Given five years to live, she turned away from conventional treatment options and overhauled her diet.
She began eating up to three pineapples a day, along with dozens of grapefruits, lemons, apples, kiwis and bananas. Some weeks she would eat nothing but fruit.
Pineapples are high in bromelain proteins, which Fox claims “eat away” cancer cells. Bromelain has a long history of use in folk medicine and has been tested in a variety of research models for its possible efficacy against diseases.
There is no established evidence supporting its “cancer-zapping” properties. NONE.
Aside from improving her diet, Fox also ditched other toxins from her life including alcohol, chemical beauty products, meat – even a “toxic” husband. She took up yoga. She also joined a positive-thinking dance group, began mediating and quit her job.
Six months later she returned to her doctors and is, apparently, cancer free. And now she wants the rest of the world to know they they can “beat” cancer too.
“Stress, chemicals and animal products all feed cancer, so I just got rid of them,” she told the Daily Mail Australia.
“My husband was not supportive and it wasn’t working, so we split up too.
“I had got rid of the massive tumours by arresting and starving them with the pure science of food and a positive attitude.”
All the actions taken by Fox are indeed positive. They may improve wellbeing, mental and even physical health – but are they clinically proven to cure cancer?
Absolutely f*cking not.
And it is a dangerous dangerous thing for Fox – or anyone who is not a trained medical expert for that matter – to suggest that they will.
Recently, there has been a seemingly endless stream of online health gurus, like Fox, claiming to have the answers and duping vulnerable sufferers into believing that their miracle “cures” will work for everyone.
Most recently we witnessed the meteoric rise and fall of Belle Gibson, who claimed to have been diagnosed — and then “misdiagnosed” — with a series of cancers stemming from a tumour in her brain. But not before she had built an empire selling her diet-based “cure” for cancer in the form of a lucrative app and subsequent cookbook The Whole Pantry.
According to numerous reports, Gibson neither had cancer, nor a viable cure for cancer – but that didn’t stop her profiting from the desperation of vulnerable cancer sufferers or duping the media who initially championed her cause.
Associate Professor Ian Haines is a Melbourne-based oncologist who is warning people against following the advice of people like Gibson and Fox.
Dr Hains is warning of the dangers of online “miracle cure” diets.
“Snake oil salesmen have been around medicine for hundreds of years and I don’t think it’s necessarily changed that much,” A/Prof Haines told ABC’s 7.30 program.
“They have got greater platforms to express their views now so I think there is a lot of competition in that communication space.
Haines says that cancer patients trying extreme therapies – while shunning more traditional therapies – can lead to diabolical results.
“My colleagues and I have seen many patients over the years who’ve had potentially curable cancers who’ve pursued these extreme therapies to the exclusion of other treatments and have ended up developing advanced cancer when they could easily have been cured with surgery or radiation, perhaps chemo as well.”
“I don’t think journalists should swallow these stories hook line and sinker,” A/Prof Haines told Mamamia.
“I think the online space allows a lot of people to make a lot of claims. I think a lot of it is buyer beware. But if you are making claims that you can cure cancer and somehow charging money for access to your diet or somehow making money from it, I think those reporting it have some responsible to check the claims.”
So is Fox making money from her claims? Well, not yet.
She is however planning to launch a personal website Healthy Candy and she is clearly trying to raise a media profile.
The problem is if it is not Fox, or Gibson, it will be someone else.
“I feel sorry for patients having to navigate through it. I can understand how they get online. There are so many news sites and they all look as credible as each other,” A/Prof Haines said.
“It’s a multi-headed hydra of unsubstantiated claims of cures with improbable treatments. If you disprove one, another lot will spring up – it’s a huge business.”
Things like massage, meditation, exercise and healthy eating can of course be used in conjunction with conventional cancer treatments — and can be hugely beneficial.
And at the end of the day, the aim of any oncologist is to prolong life and improve quality of life in their patients and most offer a package of treatment options. It certainly isn’t to quash hope or make people sicker.
“I’m very happy to recommend pineapples if you can prove that they work,” A/Prof Haines said.
“But I’ve yet to see anyone’s cancer to behave in a way other than expected.”