Crazy Cancer Cures: Alkaline

You guys! It’s time again for another in my series on Crazy Cancer Cures, where we discuss the many dumb ideas I’ve heard about alternative ways to cure my cancer. Today’s is one I actually first heard from my oncologist in the very early days after I was diagnosed. No, he didn’t suggest this, he told me about it because it’s so completely bonkers. When he told me about it, I thought he was making it up, because not only does it seem like something that wouldn’t work, it sounds dangerous and unhealthy too. And yet, it’s out there all over the internet and there are people who seem to believe it.

OK, here it is: drinking alkaline. No, seriously. There are people out there who believe that drinking alkaline will cure their cancer. The idea is that cancer thrives in an acidic environment, so if you can change the pH balance of your body to be more alkaline, your cancer can’t grow. A less insane-sounding version of this supposed cure is eating a lot of high-alkaline foods, instead of drinking alkaline, again with the idea of adjusting your pH balance.

The problem with this Crazy Cancer Cure, beyond the idea that drinking straight-up alkaline is no better for you than drinking acid, is that you can’t just adjust your pH balance this way. If you eat too many acidic foods or too many alkaline foods, your body just pees out the excess acid or alkaline. Unless something is seriously wrong with your kidneys, your body’s pH balance isn’t going to fluctuate more than a teeny bit. 

Now, it’s true that cancer cells can’t live in a highly alkaline environment. But you know what else can’t live in a highly alkaline environment? ALL THE REST OF YOUR CELLS. That’s why you pee out any excess alkaline. Don’t believe me? Perhaps you’ll listen to the nice folks from Cancer Research UK
You know, the thing with all these Crazy Cancer Cures is that they take a tiny grain of truth–cancer can’t live in a highly alkaline environment–and they make some crazy sweeping generalization from it that doesn’t make any goddamn sense. I just…look, I know some people aren’t all that educated, but if you really don’t know that much about the human body, how about you stop emailing your friends who have cancer with whatever lunatic theory you read on the internet? Just a suggestion.