Zombie cancer cure claims viral in Namibian groups

Image: Namibia Fact Check / WhatsApp

A post claiming that cancer is not a dangerous disease has gone viral in Namibian WhatsApp groups in March 2024

A screenshot of what appears to be the original post, which is dated 2018, was forwarded to Namibia Fact Check on 15 March 2024 for verification.

The post claims the following (image below):

“Cancer is not a dangerous disease!

Dr Gupta says, No one should die of cancer except due to carelessness. 

(1). The first step is to stop all sugar intake. Without sugar in your body, cancer cells die a natural death.

(2). The second step is to mix the lemon fruit juice with a cup of hot water and drink it for 1-3 months first thing in the Morning, before food and cancer will be gone. According to Maryland medical research, hot Lemon water is 1000 times better, stronger & safer than chemotherapy.

(3). The third step is to drink 3 Tablespoons of organic coconut oll, morning and night and cancer will disappear, you can choose any of the two other treatments including avoiding sugar:

Ignorance is not an excuse. I have been sharing this information for more than 5 years. Let everyone around you know, its a desecration for anyone to die of cancer; Share widely to save lives. Copied.”

According to what Namibia Fact Check could establish the post has been circulating on multiple social media platforms since 2018. The oldest post traced is dated 21 February 2018 and was published on Facebook. To date it has attracted 599 shares, 195 comments and 209 reactions.

Another version of the post was published on 10 April 2019, also on Facebook. The post received over 15,000 shares, 1,000 comments and 4,000 reactions. Facebook flagged this post as false information.

The facts

Cancer is a dangerous disease, or rather a large group of diseases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A webpage on cancer on the WHO website states of cancer:

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths, or 1 in 6 deaths, in 2018.”

The claim in the viral post has been debunked several times over the years.

On 3 January 2019 PolitiFact debunked the claims. Experts found that the advice in the post was inconsistent with scientific evidence and thus false. They also found the following:

“We couldn’t find any research published by the [Maryland] university’s school of medicine that supports any of the post’s alleged cancer cures.”

On 8 April 2019 Africa Check found that the doctor mentioned in the post could not be traced, stating the following:

“A reverse image search for the photo of “Dr Gupta” used in the post only returns results related to the post. And a search for “Dr. Guruprasad Reddy B V”, again, only gives results from the claim.”

Based on what the WHO states and what other fact checkers have found over the years, the information contained in the viral post is false.