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Fact-checkers have repeatedly debunked the claim that COVID-19 vaccines cause cancer.
- A recent post that repeated the claim cited comments from a doctor who is facing unprofessional conduct charges for allegedly making false and misleading public statements about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines.
A video shared on Facebook tied COVID-19 vaccines to cancers that rapidly accelerate to Stage 4, the most advanced stage of cancer.
A woman narrating the video pegged the claim to Dr. Ryan Cole, an Idaho pathologist.
Cole has been "looking at the unusual cancers that are exploding right into Stage 4," the woman said in the video. Those cancer cells, she said, have "the spike protein."
The video doesn’t say that Cole is possibly facing sanctions after the Washington state Medical Commission filed unprofessional conduct charges against him for allegedly spreading COVID-19 misinformation.
COVID-19 mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccines use the human body’s natural immune response to their advantage. The shot contains the recipe for making the molecule known as the spike protein, which the COVID-19 virus uses to bind to cells. Once the cell receives these instructions, it creates the protein and displays it on its surface. The immune system then spots the unknown protein and makes antibodies to fight it.
We found an August article about Cole on Natural News, a website known for circulating false information about vaccines. It said that Cole believed that spike proteins in COVID-19 vaccines hurt the body’s immune system and caused an increase in cancer.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, in an article about COVID-19 vaccine myths, said: "None of the vaccines interact with or alter your DNA in any way, and therefore cannot cause cancer."
On Jan. 9, the Medical Commission in Washington, where Cole is also licensed to practice, filed unprofessional conduct charges against him.
The charges allege that Cole made numerous false and misleading public statements about the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, including that the vaccines can lead to cancer, and that he gave negligent care to prevent or treat COVID-19 in four patients.
Cole denied to the commission that he advised people not to be vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the charges.
With no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines cause cancer, we rate the Facebook post False.
Natural News, "Dr. Ryan Cole: COVID shots linked to rising cancer rates," (archived) Aug. 17, 2022
PolitiFact, "Cancer study was from data well before COVID-19 vaccines existed," Oct. 17, 2022
PolitiFact, "There’s no evidence of a huge spike in soft-tissue cancers," Dec. 16, 2021
PolitiFact, "No evidence that COVID-19 vaccines linked to cancer recurrence," March 11, 2022
PolitiFact, "Claim that children will be harmed by spike proteins from COVID-19 vaccines is false," Jan. 6, 2022
PolitiFact, "No proof for researcher claim that COVID-19 vaccines’ spike protein is a ‘toxin,’" June 7, 2021
Washington Health Department, Washington Medical Commission charges against Dr. Ryan Cole, Jan. 29, 2023
MedPage Today, "Medical Board Takes Action Against Misinformation Doc," Jan. 19, 2023
Reuters, "Fact Check-No evidence COVID-19 vaccines cause ‘turbo cancer,’" Dec. 14, 2022
Twitter, "Twitter account spreading false link between covid vaccines and cancer is suspended," Jan. 4, 2023
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, "Fact Check: 7 Myths about COVID-19 Vaccines," accessed Feb. 8, 2023
The Independent, "Twitter account spreading false link between covid vaccines and cancer is suspended," Jan. 4, 2023
Email, Aleesia Forni, American Cancer Society spokesperson, Feb. 8, 2023
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