Tom Scott

Why You Can’t Advertise Cancer Cures In Britain

This week, TV star Noel Edmonds endorsed the “EMP Pad”. He said it could help with cancer — and the company behind that claim denied it right away. Here’s why. (Pull down the description for a full bibliography!)

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This was written with help from Jonty (@jonty), who helped me deal with the fact that, sometimes, blanket skepticism’s not the right approach…


Barbault, A., Costa, F., Bottger, B., Munden, R., Bomholt, F., Kuster, N. and Pasche, B. (2009). Amplitude-modulated electromagnetic fields for the treatment of cancer: Discovery of tumor-specific frequencies and assessment of a novel therapeutic approach. J Exp Clin Cancer Res, 28(1), p.51.

Goodwin, T., McCarthy, M. and Dennis, R. (2005). Physiological And Molecular Genetic Effects Of Time Varying Electromagnetic Fields (TVEMF) On Human Neuronal Cells. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 37(Supplement), p.S163.

Stupp, R., Taillibert, S., Kanner, A., Kesari, S., Steinberg, D., Toms, S., Taylor, L., Lieberman, F., Silvani, A., Fink, K., Barnett, G., Zhu, J., Henson, J., Engelhard, H., Chen, T., Tran, D., Sroubek, J., Tran, N., Hottinger, A., Landolfi, J., Desai, R., Caroli, M., Kew, Y., Honnorat, J., Idbaih, A., Kirson, E., Weinberg, U., Palti, Y., Hegi, M. and Ram, Z. (2015). Maintenance Therapy With Tumor-Treating Fields Plus Temozolomide vs Temozolomide Alone for Glioblastoma. JAMA, 314(23), p.2535.

Zimmerman, J., Pennison, M., Brezovich, I., Yi, N., Yang, C., Ramaker, R., Absher, D., Myers, R., Kuster, N., Costa, F., Barbault, A. and Pasche, B. (2011). Cancer cell proliferation is inhibited by specific modulation frequencies. Br J Cancer, 106(2), pp.307-313.

WEB SITES: (2016). PEMF – Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy & Health. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jun. 2016].

Cancer Act (1939). Available at


Grady, D. (2014). Electrical Scalp Device Can Slow Progression of Deadly Brain Tumors. New York Times, [online] p.A26. Available at: [Accessed 9 Jun. 2016].

Manchester Evening News, (2010). Guilty, businessman who sold ‘miracle cancer cure’. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jun. 2016].

Sweetman, E. (2010). Cancer “healer” to pay thousands – court. Worcester News. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jun. 2016].

Deal or No Deal (2009), Cheetah West Television / Channel 4
Noel’s House Party (1997), BBC
Humira: Carpenter advert (2013)
This Morning (2016), ITV Studios, clip from

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