Katie from Launceston, Tasmania, Australia asked:

Is black salve a good treatment for skin cancer?

Salve cream

I was told black salve can draw out skin cancer cells and destroy them. It sounds better than getting skin cancers cut out. What do you think?

The source:
Our answer

Black salve is a fake cancer treatment, which is also known as red salve, cansema or bloodroot. There is no evidence that it works, and it can cause serious side-effects. Commonly advertised as an alternative treatment to “draw out” skin cancer, in reality black salve is a corrosive substance that burns off layers of skin and surrounding tissue. As a result, it can destroy large chunks of skin and cause heavy scarring. Many people have suffered serious scarring and disfigurement after they tried to use black salve. Several of them have lost parts of their face, including their noses, and required many years of plastic surgery to restore their appearance. Surgery or a medically proven cream offers a far better chance of getting rid of the skin cancer without damaging surrounding skin. The Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration has issued a warning on the dangers of black salve. Illegal importation or supply of this substance for therapeutic use can attract penalties of up to $5.5 million. Meanwhile in the US, black salve has been listed as a “fake cancer cure” by the Food and Drug Administration, with at least one person arrested for marketing the substance as a treatment for cancer.

This page was last updated on: July 1, 2014

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