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Is there mushroom for debate?

by | Mar 29, 2023 | Kidney Cancer UK News, Personal Stories - Blogs | 0 comments

It seems that many people touched by cancer are turning to the Turkey Tail Mushroom trend, the extract from which is being used to boost the immune system of cancer patients in some countries, including Japan. So as a kidney cancer patient why not get on board with that trend, who knows what the potential is?  Well, there lays the problem, no one does know for sure.

There are a raft of articles out there about the power of mushrooms and claims of cures, holding back cancers or complementing the drugs treatments patients are on (some proven, some not). The shiitake mushroom has long been hailed for its extract Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC) which is the second most popular form of alternative medicine used by cancer patients in Japan.

Here is an article, which appeared in The Guardian, that covers many forms of fungi and health curative claims. In the article one commentator states, “Mushrooms are more like a treasure chest that needs to be opened, rather than the cure for cancer”, and Dr Kat Arney of Cancer Research UK warns in the article against “jumping to conclusions based on evidence gathered using laboratory experiments. The problem is that lots of things can kill cells in a lab, not just mushroom extracts. Whether it is bleach or leaving the incubator door open, there may be many reasons for the positive results. It doesn’t mean they are all treatments for cancer.” This published on the CRUK website makes for interesting reading.

Remember that there is insufficient research so far for there to be any reliable claims about the properties mushrooms may, or may not, have.  Equally, there is not enough knowledge about any potential side effects, how much you can safely take and whether there are any issues with taking them when you are having medication for whatever conditions you may have.  So, think carefully before taking any supplements, especially those that have had limited research, and, especially if you are on any kind of drug treatment, always check with your medical team before starting any supplements.

So, before you do embark on a mushroom odessy, ensure you talk to your medical team and take their advice, not Google’s. Google does know a lot, but it doesn’t know your medical history like your medical team does.

Take a minute to read the article, it’s very interesting and insightful though, to be clear, we are not endorsing any form of alternative medicines by publishing this article.

<a href="" target="_self">Malcolm Packer</a>

Malcolm Packer

Malcolm is Chief Executive Officer at Kidney Cancer UK and Kidney Cancer Scotland and has worked with the charity in various capacities for over 15 years.