The World Snooker Championship is always a tense affair. What makes me especially nervous this year is the (almost certainly illegal) advertising of the unproven and dangerous Gerson Therapy on Peter Ebdon’s waistcoat.
Peter Ebdon: Vegan Champion!
Earlier this month, on the 30 Bananas a Day site, Ebdon wrote with enthusiasm of his win in Beijing, where he took the opportunity to promote The China Study, Forks over Knives and Healing the Gerson Way.
In later comments, he explained that his father died of lung cancer last year and speculated
how many tens of millions of people have died, through mis-information, conventional drug treatments and by just not knowing that nature itself, offers a cure to most degenerative diseases, through organic fruits and vegetables, since Dr Gerson first began to successfully treat cancer patients, back in the 1920’s?
Ebdon also recommended a selection of nutritionist documentaries and books and explained that he has recently become fascinated by learning of the ‘incredible healing power and success of The Gerson Therapy’.
I believe that Peter Ebdon has been misinformed and that belief in regimes such as Gerson Therapy can be harmful, even dangerous.
What is Gerson Therapy?
According to the Gerson Institute, it is
a natural treatment that activates the body’s extraordinary ability to heal itself through an organic, vegetarian diet, raw juices, coffee enemas and natural supplements.
It consists of ‘flooding the body with nutrients from about 15- 20 pounds of organically grown fruits and vegetables daily’. They also also recommend ‘detoxification’ by means of up to five coffee enemas a day.
They clearly have their own definition of what is ‘natural’.
As Cancer Research UK explain here, Gerson Therapy is usually used as an alternative to conventional cancer treatment. This means that people are (perhaps unwittingly) reducing their chances of controlling or curing their cancer by choosing to follow this regime.
There is no evidence that the Gerson Therapy works as a cure for cancer. There are also serious side effects.
Coffee enemas have been known to cause
- Salt and other mineral imbalances
- Heart and lung problems, even death
Regular, long term use of enemas can lead to constipation and inflammation of the bowel.
Other reported side effects include
- Dizziness and weakness
- Abdominal cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhoea and sickness
- Aching, fever and sweating
- Cold sores
Is the BBC breaching the Cancer Act?
Section 4 of the Cancer Act (1939) states that no person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement
containing an offer to treat any person for cancer, or to prescribe any remedy therefor, or to give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof;
The advertising logos on the players’ waistcoats are clearly visible.
How to complain
You can complain to the BBC here.
Breaches of the Cancer Act should be reported to Trading Standards. You can find contact details for your local office here. Contact details for the Sheffield office are given here. Their email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact details for World Snooker are given here.
Contact details for the Crucible, Sheffield are here.
BBC Snooker Promoting Cancer Quackery Andy Lewis, The Quackometer, 24/04/12
Cancer quackery infests snooker Adam Jacobs, Dianthus Medical, 24/04/12
A shortened version of this post appears here on the 21st Floor.