Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Friday, 11 April 2014

I'm seeing a lot of people asking this: "Do you know about the Cancer Act of 1939?"

This question seems to have cropped up rather a lot in recent weeks*. If you type "cancer act" 1939 into Twitter you'll see a stream of tweets about it - most of them seem to be pointing to only one or two forum posts, and they all seem to say the same thing. There seem to be a few convergent conspiracy theories about it.

I'm intrigued as to why there's a sudden (apparent) interest in the Act.

Briefly, it's an Act of Parliament that makes it an offence to offer to treat someone for cancer or give advice about treatment...

"4 Prohibition of certain advertisements.

(1)No person shall take any part in the publication of any advertisement—

(a) containing an offer to treat any person for cancer, or to prescribe any remedy therefor, or to give any advice in connection with the treatment thereof;"
...unless you are making the information available for healthcare practitioners.

There haven't been very many prosecutions under the Act, though things probably don't get that far as most people will remove misleading claims after discussions with Trading Standards. A few websites have closed down, events have tried to move venues (doesn't really work, still illegal) or speakers have been removed from the programme - it all seems to be quite low level stuff really.

Incidentally I've known of the Act since at least 2010, it's fairly well-known among skeptic bloggers I think.

*to be fair I've not really been looking for it before now so I don't know if it's always been this much talked about, or if this is a real and recent increase.

Additional comments policy - note that any approved comments are very likely to be published as plain text with no website hyperlinks. This is both an anti-spam and anti-conspiracy-theory strategy.

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Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).