PhotoWe feel equal parts sympathy and admiration for a certain unnamed staff member working for the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center attached to the Johns Hopkins Medical School — specifically, whichever staff member had to update the Johns Hopkins webpage to tell everybody: “Cancer Update Email — It’s a Hoax!”

What follows is a long and detailed list of false claims and rebuttals—starting with the following explanation:

Information falsely attributed to Johns Hopkins called, "CANCER UPDATE FROM JOHN HOPKINS" describes properties of cancer cells and suggests ways of preventing cancer.  Johns Hopkins did not publish the information, which often is an email attachment, nor do we endorse its contents.  The email also contains an incorrect spelling of our institution as "John" Hopkins; whereas, the correct spelling is "Johns" Hopkins. For more information about cancer, please read the information on our web site or visit the National Cancer Institute.  Please help combat the spread of this hoax by letting others know of this statement.

Another hoax email that has been circulating since 2004 regarding plastic containers, bottles, wrap claiming that heat releases dioxins which cause cancer also was not published by Johns Hopkins.  More information from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

…. Emails offering easy remedies for avoiding and curing cancer are the latest Web-influenced trend. To gain credibility, the anonymous authors falsely attribute their work to respected research institutions like Johns Hopkins. This is the case with the so-called “Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins.”

The gist of this viral email is that cancer therapies of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy do not work against the disease and people should instead choose a variety of dietary strategies…. 


We admire whoever wrote this because it introduces a plain, straightforward list of hoax claims followed by factual rebuttals, with nothing to indicate that the writer is incredibly annoyed and frustrated at having to waste valuable research time repeatedly publishing rebuttals to ridiculous claims.

Here is a prediction: one of these days, possibly even in our own lifetimes, a brilliant medical genius is going to discover something wonderful -- possibly a cure for cancer, a vaccine for AIDS, maybe the secret to halting the aging process at 26 years old.

And when this happens, said medical genius (or her university’s public-relations staff) will definitely announce this discovery to the world — and that announcement will initially appear in a peer-reviewed medical journal, not in the badly misspelled email Aunt Gertrude forwarded you after she got a copy from a buddy in her bridge club.

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