A viral message on social media falsely claims that lemon peels and frozen lemons are better than chemotherapy at curing different kinds of cancer and kill cancer cells in the body.
While there is research suggesting that flavonoids, nutrients found in lemon peels do have anti-inflammatory and a few anti- cancer properties, there is not enough evidence to support that they can cure cancer and kill cancer cells.
BOOM also spoke to Dr. Dilip Nikam, an oncologist at Bombay Hospital, to understand whether there is any truth behind this claim. He refuted the claims made in the message and said that there is no research showing lemons can substitute chemotherapy.
The long message which has been viral for a few years reads," *Lemon Peel* & it pains me to hear about these facts & proves that the drug companies would rather profit on our *Pains & Suffering* than educate us on *Alternative Medicines & Natural Remedies.* Feel sorry for those *Dead & Gone* that couldn't afford or get hold of the *Chemo* or whatever medicines they prescribe and didn't know about these facts, thank goodness for *Social Media*."
The message further adds a method of using lemons in food and then says that lemons have properties that are 10,000 times better than chemotherapy at killing cancer cells. The message also adds that drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies will never share information about the benefits of lemon peels as they are creating their own synthetic versions to sell at exorbitant prices.
BOOM received this message on its WhatsApp helpline requesting verification.
The message has been viral on Facebook for the past few years. Earlier it was attributed to different hospitals across the world but this time around there is no attribution to a doctor or hospital.
Dr. Nikam, the oncologist, told BOOM that lemon alone is not enough nutrition for cancer treatment and that there is no truth to the message circulating on social media.
The message claims that lemon cures cancer better than chemotherapy. There are not enough studies suggesting lemons cure cancer. However, a few scientific studies do talk about anti-carcinogenic properties of nutrients such as flavonoids that are found in lemons and other citrusy fruits.
A 2014 study by biotechnologists from Tianjin University in China sums up the work that has been done in the direction of understanding the role of these flavonoids in cancer treatment. This study highlighted other epidemiological studies conducted towards the action of flavonoids on human colorectal cells, endothelial cells, and breast cancer cells in the laboratory settings.
The authors added that further research was necessary to establish whether this treatment would actually work to inhibit growth of cancer cells. These therapies using flavonoids have not been used on people suffering from cancer, yet.
The message claims that using lemons is better than chemotherapy. Chemotherapy, one of the most widely used cancer therapies, was a chance invention during the Second World War. Germany bombed Italy with mustard gas bombs which led to cell death and suppressed the division of cells. Using this as a background, scientists at Yale tried to use nitrogen mustard to stop the proliferation of cancerous lymph node cells.
Since this incident, several other researchers and scientists have tried to use different chemical agents and have laid the foundation of chemotherapy today. Other studies have found that the survival rate for people suffering from different cancers five years after detection is higher for those who opt for chemotherapy.
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