Caffeine ‘lotion’ protects against skin cancer. The experiments were done with mice; human trials are pending. “Although caffeine itself filters out UV, (the researcher) thinks the main effect of the substance is biological, triggering cancerous but not healthy cells to wither and die through a process called apoptosis. But how caffeine selectively targets cancerous cells is not known. Despite the success of the tests in mice, (the author) warns people against smearing their bodies with coffee or tea potions..” New Scientist
Years ago, a medical resident friend of mine died of disseminated testicular cancer for which he had rejected medical treatment in favor of the Gerson Diet, which relied heavily on raw vegatable and fruit juices but also on coffee enemas. As usual, extraordinary claims were made by proponents, and maybe the claims will turn out not to have been so misguided if caffeine turns out to be a robust anti-carcinogen, if it works systemically as well as cutaneously, etc. etc. From my vantage point at the time, however, it was a tragic direction for a father of two young children to take at a time when his cancer would have been readily treatable and was not rethought by him until it was far too advanced to salvage anything with conventional treatment. During medical school, I’d been one of those who had constantly harried the professors with disciplined skepticism about the dominant paradigms in medicine and polemicized about ‘complementary pathways’. But watching him die was one of the things that embittered me toward alternative medicine (especially when used in an alternative rather than a complementary fashion to conventional allopathic techniques) and emboldened me to start confronting the unsystematic, flaky thoughtlessness with which many evaluate their options when facing important medical decisions.