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- Research in animals and via test tubes suggests that soursop could be used to treat cancer, but studies evaluating its efficacy and safety in humans are lacking.
A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming as patients weigh treatment options, and online there are plenty of purported cures — but they should be considered with caution.
We’ve previously debunked claims that alkaline foods and sugar and hot lemon water will kill cancer. Other social media posts have overpromised what potential cancer treatment developments can actually do.
Now we’re examining a recent Facebook reel that floats the tree fruit soursop as a "cancer cure."
"Soursop can stop the growth of cancer," a man in the video says as he explains how to blend the fruit with water to supposedly tap the fruit’s healing powers.
The reel was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook.)
Soursop, a fruit native to South America that’s also known as graviola, guanabana and Brazilian pawpaw, is high in antioxidants. As the Cleveland Clinic noted in December 2021, "antioxidant-rich diets may help protect against diseases like heart disease or cancer."
There’s also "some evidence that extracts from the plant’s leaves could kill cancer cells or fight inflammation," the clinic said, but "those findings came from test-tube and animal studies, which involved huge doses of extracts from soursop leaves."
The clinic also quoted Cleveland Clinic dietitian Alexis Supan, who said "there haven’t been any human studies, so it’s too soon to tell if there are any benefits."
Studies involving humans are needed to determine whether the plant could be effective in fighting cancer cells in people, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
The studies are also needed to ensure the extract is safe. In lab and animal experiments, there was evidence of damage to nerve cells and "neurological side effects similar to Parkinson’s disease," the center said.
The video in the Facebook post focuses on using the fruit’s pulp. One study showed that graviola pulp extract had a beneficial effect on prostate cancer cells in mice, according to Cancer Research UK. But again, there haven’t been human studies, "so we don’t know whether it can work as a cancer treatment or not."
The claim that soursop is a cure for cancer still needs more evidence to support it.
We rate this post False.
Facebook post, Sept. 6, 2022
Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Experts warn against using soursop to fight cancer, July 13, 2017
MedicalNewsToday, Can soursop help fight cancer?, April 15, 2020
Cleveland Clinic, What Is Soursop?, Dec. 17, 2021
Cancer Research UK, Graviola (soursop), last reviewed Oct. 22, 2018
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Graviola, last updated June 2, 2022
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