- A Facebook post endorses eggplant’s effectiveness for cancer despite the lack of scientific evidence
- Following this type of advice is potentially dangerous for patients, experts say
It has been shared 25,000 times since April 15! A fake news about wild eggplants that would cure any kind of cancer is actively circulating on Facebook in Central Africa: According to the site Laplante Luxurée, for breast, prostate, liver, lung, stomach and even kidney cancer, drinking it would be enough “in the form of tea‘, with hot water.
However, according to several experts contacted by AFP, there is no scientific data to support the effectiveness of this vegetable in cancer, whatever it is.
Not scientifically proven
An earlier version of this rumor was circulating about breast cancer back in 2019. Several experts contacted at the time already assured that the effectiveness of this remedy was not scientifically proven. For all cancer types mentioned in this publication “there is no scientific proof“On the alleged effectiveness of wild aubergines as a treatment, AFP assured on April 20 Pr Béatrice Fervers, oncologist and director of the Department of Environmental Cancer Prevention at the Léon Bérard Center in Lyon (France).
The five types of cancer cited in the publication — breast, prostate, stomach, liver, kidney — are “very different in their tissue of origin, their appearance and their development‘ she recalls, ‘consequently the treatments are different, for example most breast cancers and prostate cancers are so-called hormone dependent cancers where the action of hormones comes into play and is part of the treatment; this is not the case with stomach, kidney and liver cancer“.
No miracle treatment
Although the Relationship between diet and cancer exists because some dietary factors reduce risk or are protective and others are harmful, “IThere is no miracle cure for cancer” confirms Serpos Dossou, oncologist and radiotherapist at the Cotonou Cancer Center (Benin), who was contacted by AFP on April 19. “Each cancer treatment is well codified, there are different types of histologies for each cancer type [étude de la structure des tissus], and different types of treatment depending on the type of histology‘ confirms this specialist.
Furthermore, “Different cancer subtypes can develop for the same organ“, adds the oncologist, which “even different treatments [quand on traite un même] organ“.
It is therefore impossible for a single food to cure multiple cancers affecting different organs, according to all experts contacted by AFP.
Promoting such “miracle cures” can also be dangerous for the health of patients suffering from cancer, one of the leading causes of death worldwide – 10 million deaths in 2020, according to the organization World Health.
In 2020, breast cancer was the most common type of cancer with 2.26 million registered cases, according to the WHO, well ahead of prostate cancer (1.41 million cases) or stomach cancer (1.09 million cases).
On the subject of breast cancer, Xavier Cormoul, professor of toxicology at Paris Descartes University, assured AFP back in December 2019 that eating wild aubergines as a treatment “dangerous because some vegetables contain toxic compounds and are mistakenly believed to destroy tumors“.
Follow advice as suggested in the publication. “is against [ce] that we [découvre] disease in the early stages“, also warns Serpos Dossou from the Cotonou Cancer Center in Benin. “The disease is in a very advanced stage“that can be”very dangerous” continues this specialist, alarmed by the spread of false information about cancer.
This is also the fear of Béatrice Fervers from the Léon Bérard Center in Lyon: promoting a “miracle food“Risk, in her opinion, to encourage some patients who have just been diagnosed or whose cancer has come back to turn to this dangerous advice and”worsen their situation by neglecting effective treatments“.
“At best, it can confuse patients; at worst, it can lead to loss of happiness [de guérison] or, depending on the product, lead to harmful or toxic effects‘ she summarizes.