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New web ad combats phony cancer treatments



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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Federal Trade Commission wants to protect a vulnerable population against scams, and they're doing it on popular Web site YouTube. It's entertaining, but it has a serious message.

The ad is meant to prevent cancer patients from falling for scams, and right off the bat, the it warns patients not to believe everyone who claims to be a doctor. "No, I'm not a doctor, and I don't even play one on TV," the actor says.

Not only can the "doctors" in such commercials be actors, but the people who you hear testimonials from are as well.

We e-mailed this ad to the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and everyone there was impressed. "I thought it was great. It's a quick, concise message about what people should do when they're thinking of looking for alternative cancer treatments," said Donna Branson, the institute's director of patient and public education.

The two-minute piece also tells patients to use skepticism when they see cancer treatment ads online "There are companies set up to take advantage of people with cancer," the ad warns. Branson says it's common for a cancer patient to want to believe treatment scams and cures. "When they're going through a difficult time, they're confused and they're grasping for straws. There are a lot of companies who try to take advantage," she said.

Another issue the video tackles is that of empty promises. It says hot products like Black Salve, Laetrile, essiac tea that promise to provide relief of your symptoms simply do not.

Branson agrees. "They've been touted as cures or remedies, but they're really isn't evidence that back those up," she said.

She hopes this video will reach a new audience of cancer patient online.

The bottom line is you should always talk to your doctor first. Fore a list of five key questions you can ask your doctor about the treatments you see on TV or on the Internet, CLICK HERE.

You can also contact the Huntsman Cancer Information Service at 888.424.2100 with any questions.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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Amanda Butterfield

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