Vitacor to treat cancer
My mother has ovarian cancer and her doctor says there is nothing else that can be done. I’ve read about an alternative treatment called Vitacor that can help cure people with cancer. Can you please tell me more about this?
Vitacor (Vitacor plus or Vitacor 20/90) is a type of vitamin supplement. You can buy it on the internet, marketed mainly by Dr Mathias Rath. It contains 35 different vitamins and minerals. Dr Rath claims that Vitacor is a natural cancer therapy and may cure cancer. He has developed a range of other food and drink supplements with the brand name Cellular Health. There is no scientific evidence at all to back up the claims that these products work. None have been shown to cure cancer.
When a doctor tells you there is no further treatment available to help you or your loved one, it is very difficult to accept. In this situation, many people do look for alternative therapies. Please bear in mind that most alternative therapies have not been scientifically proven to prevent or treat cancer. Some may work, but there is often no evidence that they do. There is information about alternative therapies in this section.
A review by the Swiss Study Group for Complementary and Alternative Methods in Cancer (SKAK) and the Swiss Cancer League (SCL) in 2004, found no proof that the vitamin preparations of Dr Mathias Rath have any effect on human cancer. They advise people not to use them to prevent or treat cancer. They recommend eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables instead.
The British Medical Journal published a paper in 1998 called Validity of advertising claims for multivitamin preparation Vitacor 20/90 on the internet. Although this paper was mainly about using Vitacor for heart conditions, they point out that this type of uncontrolled advertising can be dangerous. The products have often not been checked for effectiveness or safety. People also tend to use them without their doctors’ supervision.
Unfortunately, the internet is not regulated and so false claims can be made. It is worrying that vulnerable people may be taken in by what they read, even though there is no proof that the product really works.
Dr Rath’s company have also promoted their products by post in the USA and UK. In the UK some people complained about the leaflets to the Advertising Standards Agency. Dr Rath's company could not prove the health claims made for his products.
Some people who promote alternative therapies rely on anecdotes. They say that stories about the occasional person getting better is enough to prove that their therapy works. For most scientists and cancer doctors, this is simply not enough. You need to compare new treatments with accepted and proven ones within a properly organised series of clinical trials before you can be sure of the true benefit of any treatment.
Alternative therapies advertised on the web almost always cost quite a lot of money. Before you start taking anything, make sure you have thought about the ongoing cost. In 2004, The Swiss Study Group for Complementary and Alternative Methods in Cancer (SKAK) and the Swiss Cancer League (SCL) wrote a report including details about the cost of Dr Rath’s Cellular Health remedies for cancer.
The report found that the daily cost of his recommended cancer therapy ranges from £5.35 (minimum recommended dose) to about £11.60 (maximum recommended dose) if you take all 6 medications. This works out to a monthly cost of between £150 and £343.
We are concerned that people can end up paying a great deal of money for so called cancer cures that don’t work. People with cancer can be vulnerable. It is understandable that patients or relatives will try anything if they think it might work. Of course people want to believe that something will work. But some alternative therapies are money making businesses targeting people who are ill and very vulnerable. Our message is
- Be careful
- Make sure you look into all available information
- Talk to your own cancer doctor before you buy anything
We have a section about alternative and complementary therapies that you may find useful.
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team