FIT WebQoof: Does Baking Soda Cure Cancer?
Cancer treatment is comprised of many things like medicines, chemotherapy, radiation and more.
Cancer treatment is comprised of many things like medicines, chemotherapy, radiation and more.(Photo: FIT/Aroop Mishra)

FIT WebQoof: Does Baking Soda Cure Cancer?

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Claim

Another cancer-related claim is going viral, this time the message says that baking soda can cure cancer.

This message is being attributed to a team of American Researchers, another version of the same message claims the source is an oncologist in Rome. The post has been going viral on Facebook and Quora since a few years as well.

True or False?

To get to the bottom of this, FIT spoke to Dr Jasankan Sethi, a cancer specialist at Fortis Hospital.

Firstly, cancer is not just treated through medicine. There is a combination of radiation, surgery and medicine. For every type of cancer, drugs and other treatment methods are employed. 
Dr Jasankan Sethi

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Dr Sethi added that the claim has no truth, saying there has been no such study that mentions baking soda as a cancer cure or drug.

In 2009 there was an article that said that if baking soda was put on the tumour of a rat’s breast cancer, the tumour would start shrinking. But this has not been tested on humans so far, and it is not even scientifically sound. Baking soda cannot eliminate tumor cells or cure cancer.
Dr Jasankan Sethi

According to Dr Sethi, an alkaline medium pH does slow down the growth of tumours but this does not mean that baking soda can be used to treat cancer.

There has been a 2009 study that found that injecting bicarbonate in rats reduces the pH level of tumor and slows down metastatic breast cancer.

The study quoted in the message too is an actual experiment done on rats, where they were given a mixture of baking soda in the water. But this has been only tested on rats, and it cannot be deduced that baking soda alone cures cancer.

Dr Sethi explains that there are many factors that go into treating cancer. For example, often with in chemotherapy, medicines called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) are used that increase the effect of chemotherapy. But PPIs alone cannot replace the entire cancer treatment, and cancer cells are not killed by just PPIs.

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If This Is An Actual Study, What Are The Real Findings

Dr Sethi breaks it down for us, first by explaining a little about cancer cells.

In cancer cells, some cells reach a quiescent state meaning that they don’t grow, don’t respond to any drug, don’t divide and just stay as is in a dormant state.

It is difficult to eliminate such cells from drugs. This happens because the cancer drugs only target those cells that are able to divide themselves.

If there is no division in the cells, then they will not be able to target and these drug resistant cells can cause a cancer relapse.

The study said that the process of the cells becoming dormant and quiescent might be acidic, and to counter this effect the team of researchers used baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).

But Dr Wang has not said anything on baking soda treating cancer in human patients, and this has not been tested.

So again, this study says baking cancer MAY be helpful in cancer treatment, but not to cure cancer and also not as a replacement for other cancer treatment methods.

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