Skin cancer should be treated by your doctor. You shouldn’t try to address this potentially fatal health issue alone. And you really don’t want to do it with black salve.
You’ve heard of black salve, right? It’s a controversial ointment with corrosive ingredients that burn skin and, theoretically, skin cancer with it. The issue with that is a total lack of anything that would pass for evidence to suggest that it works. There’s plenty of the opposite though – in fact, a 2016 study suggests black salve makes skin cancer more difficult to treat.
For an added jolt of reality, do a quick Google image search for ‘Black Salve’ to see it in action.
What is Black Salve?
Black salve, which sometimes goes by the brand name Cansema, is a dangerous alternative cancer treatment. It’s typically classified as an escharotic, meaning a topical paste that burns and destroys living tissue.
Think drano for human skin – one that leaves a thick black scar, called an eschar.
Escharotics were commonly used to treat skin lesions in the early 1900s, with the logic being they would ‘burn’ lesions and related skin cancer out of the body.
The medical community has long frowned on black salve, citing a lack of evidence for safety and efficacy. However, it has gained some traction in recent years among marketers and online searchers thanks to higher rates of skin cancer. It is listed by some marketers as a treatment for skin cancer, often with claims that cannot be substantiated
Black salve ointment is not regulated, so you really don’t know what’s inside. Reports from medical literature describe the consequences of using black salve as ranging from disfigurement to preventable cancer reoccurrences.
Yes, the risk you take with black salve is often for naught because it can skin cancer more difficult to detect.
About the Study
Most people who use black salve don’t know how dangerous it can be. That’s the consensus of the study, in which researchers interviewed people who used the controversial ointment.
They found 74% of people who used black salve did not know of the remedy’s possible risks, including infection, scarring and disfigurement (yes, disfigurement). After all, you’re burning through skin.
Just as bad, use black salve and you can actually delay detection of skin cancer – the same ailment you’re trying to treat – and allow it to spread, the study found.
The researchers who conducted the study say it’s important to speak with a board-certified dermatologist if you see an unusual spot on your skin. When skin cancer is not treated quickly – or properly – things tend to get ugly.
They also point out that black solve products are not regulated by the FDA, and that the latter calls them a ‘fake cancer cure’ that consumers should avoid.
Some manufacturers call black salve a natural product, say the researchers, who argue this is misleading. Most of the study participants who used the ointment had heard of it through a friend or family member. Just 30% of the volunteers had spoken with a dermatologist first.
Some used black salve as an alternative to surgery while others tried it out of convenience. And in some cases, the patient used black salve because they weren’t comfortable telling their doctor about it.
The study was published May 2016 in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology.
How Your Doctor May Treat Skin Cancer
Skin cancer treatment should be left to your doctor. Most skin cancers can be detected and cured before they spread – yet another reason you don’t want to complicate matters with a black salve ointment.
Standard treatments for localized basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are generally safe and effective. If they’re small, they can often be surgically removed and cauterized, frozen with liquid nitrogen or killed with low dose radiation.
Some special ointments or immune response modifiers may also work if the tumors are superficial. Larger, still-localized tumors are usually removed surgically.
While it’s rare, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can occasionally spread beyond the skin. The tumor will need surgery at this point, and the patient treated with chemotherapy and radiation.
Melanoma tends to be more aggressive than carcinomas. They will need surgical removal – ideally before they spread beyond the skin.
Neither radiation nor chemotherapy will cure advanced melanoma, but may slow the disease and make symptoms more bearable.
Immunology Shows Promise
One of the more promising developments in skin cancer treatment is immunology. This is an emerging field that kills cancer by using the body’s immune system. The field has developed in large part because of efforts to cure melanoma.
Immunology includes vaccines and drugs – both of which are designed to stimulate the immune system to attack melanoma cells. Genetic manipulation of melanoma tumors could further assist with this and make immunology more effective. It’s an exciting field to watch – one that immunizes the body against its own cancer.
The body can’t do that on its own, and may respond with greater efficacy when told to do it.
Our Take: Avoid Black Salve and Speak With Your Doctor
We’re getting a little further away from our mandate of natural health when we talk about immunology here at Natural Health Source. But we’re pragmatic about this: skin cancer is a growing health issue in the United States and abroad. It’s not something to treat on your own – and definitely NOT something you’d treat with quackery.
Our stance is that you should avoid black salve. Simple as that – it’s ineffective, dangerous, and can ruin your life if you’re not careful (Google ‘Black Salve’ images if you like for a rather graphic reality check).
‘Natural’ does not always mean safe, we’re the first to admit. Some things are best left to your doctor. Your health is one of them. Don’t try to treat skin cancer at home – do it ONLY with the careful guidance of your doctor. Avoid black salve – don’t go near it. Be safe in the sun and treat skin cancer with the utmost of care.
Black salve should not be used to treat this all too common medical issue.