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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke August 26, 2022

No, your body’s pH levels can’t prevent you from getting cancer

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  • This is "absolutely false," according to the vice president for research at the American Institute for Cancer Research. 
 

A video circulating on social media may seem to offer a silver bullet for the hundreds of thousands of people diagnosed with cancer in the United States every year. 

"If your body's pH is alkaline, you cannot get cancer," a man says in the video. "And if you have cancer, it goes away." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

We’ve previously debunked claims that "alkaline food" can heal the body of cancer. The so-called alkaline diet, which sometimes comes up in connection with cancer treatment, is based on the theory that some foods cause your body to produce more acid, which is harmful. 

Some studies have shown that cancer cells thrive in highly acidic environments, so this diet’s premise is that consuming certain foods and drinks can change your body’s acidity, making it inhospitable for cancer. 

But there are big catches. 

First, the studies that suggest acidic environments help cancer cells grow relied on cells in a petri dish, which don’t "represent the complex nature of how tumors behave in the human body," according to MD Anderson Cancer Center. Second, you can’t alter your blood’s pH level with food.

Second, the notions that people can’t get cancer if their bodily pH is alkaline or that people can turn their bodies alkaline, and thus cure or prevent cancer, are "absolutely false" and "nonsense," said Dr. Nigel Brockton, vice president of research at the American Institute for Cancer Research. 

The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Seven is neutral, and anything less is acidic while anything greater is alkaline. The pH in human bodies generally hovers around 7.5, Brockton said. Alkaline, and yet, some people still get cancer. 

Some disease conditions can make the blood more alkaline or more acidic, Brockton said, "but those are pathologic conditions. Healthy people can’t change their body pH." 

If the statement in the Facebook post were true, Brockton said, "cancer would go away. It wouldn’t exist for anyone." 

Unfortunately, that’s not so. 

We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, Aug. 13, 2022

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cancer data and statistics, visited Aug. 26, 2022

PolitiFact, No, the alkaline diet doesn’t cure cancer, April 28, 2022

MD Anderson Cancer Center, Alkaline diet: What cancer patients should know, April 2, 2018

MD Anderson Cancer Center, The alkaline diet: What you need to know, September 2018

UC San Diego Health, pHear pHactor: Debunking the Alkaline Diet, April 30, 2019

U.S. Geological Survey, pH and Water, Oct. 22, 2019

Interview with Dr. Nigel Brockton, vice president of research at the American Institute for Cancer Research, Aug. 26, 2022

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No, your body’s pH levels can’t prevent you from getting cancer

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