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

Sunday 19 October 2014

Cancer Act 1939 convictions in the UK

You are welcome (encouraged!) to repost this. If you know of other cases please tell me, thanks.

As its name suggests the Cancer Act 1939 (legislation | Wikipedia) has been around for over 70 years. Until a year or two ago I was only aware of a handful of cases that had been tried under the Act with one or two convictions and fines but, thanks to an MP's question in Parliament, I've learned that there have been 21 cases brought under the Act since 1984 (I don't know how many of them resulted in a conviction and fine though).

This year alone has seen three convictions (that I'm aware of), which is quite surprising. Two were brought to court by Westminster Trading Standards and one by Essex Trading Standards.

Image from page 46 of "Nostrums and quackery; articles on the nostrum evil and quackery reprinted, with additions and modifications, from The Journal of the American Medical Association" (1914)

Convictions under the Act

Westminster Trading Standards, 2014
First and second cases
Trading Standards: cancer cure claims prosecuted (23 July 2014) Westminster Trading Standards
Article discusses two cases. The fine for the first case was £9,000, court costs £9,821 plus victim surcharge of £100 (total £18,921). Following an appeal it seems that this has been reduced to £4,500. The fine for the second case was £1,750 with costs of £2,500 and a victim surcharge of £120 (total £4,370).

First case
Harley Street practitioner claimed he could cure cancer and HIV with lifestyle changes and herbs, court hears (11 December 2013) The Telegraph and Bogus doctor claimed he could cure cancer using herbs, avocado and grape seeds (10 October 2014) ITV
Refers to the £4,500 fine received by Errol Denton (sometimes trading as Fitalifestyle Ltd / SeeMyCells) on appeal, which I've assumed is a reduction in the original but could actually be additional.
TS: Westminster Trading Standards

Second case
Bodybuilder turned Harley Street nutritionist fined for claiming he could CURE cancer with diet and fitness techniques (6 May 2014) Daily Mail
Fine, for Stephen Ferguson (of The Natural Health Clinic) fined £1,750 and ordered to pay £2, 500 costs and £120 victim surcharge. 
TS: Westminster Trading Standards

Essex Trading Standards, 2014
Third case
Man is fined after selling "cancer cure" which he made at home (15 September 2014)
Steven Cook was fined £750 and costs were £1,500. The fake treatment was colloidal silver. This was the second time he had been prosecuted by Trading Standards (the first in September 2013), more at Essex Trading Standards newsletter (page 3, p4 of 23pg PDF).
TS: Essex Trading Standards

Previous cases, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2002, 2000, 1995/6, 1994
'Miracle' healer who claimed to be able to cure cancer in £30 sessions fined £2,600 (15 March 2010) Daily Mail
Fine was £600 for Adrian Pengelly, costs £2,000 with £15 victim surcharge.
TS: Hereford Trading Standards

Dursley woman pleads guilty over ‘magick’ cancer remedy (3 August 2009) Stroud News & Journal
Fine information for Donna Sims trading as Herbal High Magick not given (she was given a two-year conditional discharge so perhaps no fine) but costs were £1,100. 
TS: Gloucestershire County Council Trading Standards.

Meeting with Cabinet Member - Communities (17 August 2009) Derbyshire County Council
A report on completed prosecutions under trading standards legislation which includes, on page 3 information about a company (Healthwize UK) fined £800 for breaching Food Labelling Regulations and claiming to cure cancer. A news report [Breaston firm fined for illegal claims (9 March 2009) This is Nottingham] suggested that the total fined was higher: £2,000 fine and £2,235 costs.
TS: Derbyshire County Council

Pill salesman convicted over £500 'cancer cure' (10 September 2008) Metro 
Andrew Harris, who sold Triamazon via the internet, was "given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay £350 costs at Trafford Magistrates’ Court, Manchester."
TS: assume Trafford Council Trading Standards

Firm fined for miracle tea claims (16 October 2002) This is Wiltshire
Peter Goss of Health4All fined £5,000 with £2,688.50 in costs.
TS: Swindon Trading Standards

Big fine for 'lethal' cancer machine claims (7 November 2000) CWN (news for Coventry & Warwickshire)
Reports on company directors (Leslie Goodall and Guy Stanway of Plasmafire UK) fined £14,500 with additional costs (separately and combined as the company) under several pieces of legislation including the Cancer Act 1939.
TS: Warwickshire Trading Standards.

Trading standards prosecute after "cancer relief" claims (January 1996) HealthWatch newsletter #20
Report on a case from 21st November 1995, at Camberwell Magistrates Court. Southwark Trading Standards Service brought the case against a man (Rolf Gordon Dohm, company named Dulwich Health Society) who claimed his medical device (MagneTech) could be of use to people undergoing cancer treatment. Fine was £3,500 and costs of £200.
TS: Southwark Trading Standards

British company fined for falling foul of Cancer Act (15 January 1994) BMJ 1994;308:158
Fine was £500 and costs £3,500. Welsh company (Eladon Ltd from Bangor, selling Elagen), case heard in Whitminster. (Yes it's definitely Whitminster, not Westminster or other typo, I checked).
TS: unknown

Image from page 65 of "Nostrums and quackery; articles on the nostrum evil and quackery reprinted, with additions and modifications, from The Journal of the American Medical Association" (1914)

Cancer Act 1939 as a deterrent, 2014, 2012, 2009/10
As reported in a handful of blogposts it seems that occasionally Trading Standards will contact organisations and individuals and ask them to remove problematic words or phrases from their marketing material. This suggests that 'breaching' the Cancer Act 1939 results in a series of events before any court proceedings are begun, and that people / orgs who comply with initial requests from Trading Standards will probably not be fined as the case is unlikely to be taken further.

'Cancer - there is hope' seminars reported to Trading Standards (18 November 2014) Good Thinking Society.
Dr Francisco Contreras of Mexico's 'Oasis of Hope' clinic has planned three seminars in London, Milton Keynes and Manchester, cities which are are covered by their own local Trading Standards bodies. The events are being advertised by the cancer charity 'Yes to Life' and, after discussion with Newham Trading Standards (London), they have amended the event advert for London. Trading Standards for Hackney (London), Milton Keynes and Manchester have also been involved - more at the Good Thinking Society's website.

Flyer claiming supplement could cure cancer taken down and reported (31 October 2014) Ask for Evidence website, from Sense About Science.
Sense About Science's 'Ask for Evidence" website encourages people to do just that with info on how to go about it (politely). It also shares example and in this one a flyer in a leisure centre claimed that a food supplement could cure several conditions including cancer. The person who saw it reported it to Trading Standards and the leisure centre itself (which has removed the flyer). I don't know if there will be any further follow-up though as the person also mentioned they didn't manage to contact the company (the contact details didn't work).

Trader warned for making claims herbal remedy was a treatment for cancer (30 September 2014) Hackney Gov news
Ms Adenike F Omojola has a stall at Ridley Road market which had been selling Moringa Oleifera with claims to cure / prevent several conditions, including cancer. The product's websites (Modrosel .com & were asked to make changes to claims too,  and Greenwich Trading Standards also alerted as one of the websites registered there.
TS: Hackney Council Trading Standards 

The Brit witch doctors charging £3,000 to 'cure' cancer (16 March 2014) Daily Mirror
Added for info, no mention of Trading Standards. This appears to be an undercover report from journalist but does not suggest any criminal proceedings undertaken or even whether the case was reported to the police. Fatt-ha Grami from Streatham and Reza Moussavi from Liverpool both mentioned as being healers claiming to be able to cure cancer, for a price.

Caught in the Act (9 July 2012) WDDTY
Recommendations from Trading Standards resulted in the name change of a book from Cancer Handbook to Cancer Book.
TS: presumably Devon Trading Standards, but other trading standards bodies appear to have got involved.

Alternative cancer conference banned by town council (15 May 2012) The Healthy Home Economist
The article's author is highly miffed that a cancer-related event was "banned" and includes mutterings about medical fascism and the possibility of a grave-spinning Winston Churchill. See also Dangerous ideas of the doctor who defends baking soda cancer cure (25 March 2012) Sunday Express about the event, organised by Dr Stephen Hopwood of the Arcturus Clinic in Totnes. Dr Tullio Simoncini was due to speak at an event to launch the new Totnes Cancer Care Clinic but his claims that baking soda could cure cancer resulted in withdrawal of permission, by Totnes Town Council, to host the event at the Civic Hall.

The Cancer Act 1939 (date not obvious to me, assume 2009 / 2010) Cancer U Can blog
Indicates that the blogger was contacted by Trading Standards with a recommendation to make some changes to the text to avoid a £1,000 fine. The blogger agreed not to refer to cancer in a six week course they were running about the therapies that apparently helped them to recover and changed its name to 'Transforming Serious Diseases'.

Note that many people who respond to cancer-related queries from Trading Standards and amend their material will not show up in internet searches - these are the equivalent of the Advertising Standards Authority's 'informally resolved' cases. Anecdotally I've heard that some companies have stopped trading / closed their website, but I don't have any details on this so can't confirm.

Cancer Act mentioned but no cancer convictions, 2011, 2005, 2004, 1961
'Shaman' Peter Aziz jailed over psychedelic drug drink (2 September 2011) BBC News
Peter Aziz jailed for 15 months over the contents of a drink which contained a class A substance. He had additionally claimed his drink could cure cancer and had previously been investigated by Devon County Council's Trading Standards in 2006 [Trading standards 'cancer cure' probe (7 January 2006) Herald Express (Torquay)].

10 Year disqualification for cancer cure director (7 March 2005) M2 newswire
David Lee (company: Blue Water Partners Ltd also trading as The British Prostate Association) sold 'Prostectalin' for cancer without evidence. He was disqualified, by the Secretary of State, from acting as manager of a limited company for 10 years from 21 February 2005.

Asda fined for mango health claim (26 October 2004) BBC News
The company was fined £5,000 under Food Labelling Regulations 1996: 40 (1) and 44 but a charge under Section 4 (1) of the Cancer Act 1939 was dropped.

British Medical Journal - Medico-legal section of the 20 May 1961 issue.
"The fourth charge, of advertisement contrary to the Cancer Act, 1939, was found not proven: offending leaflets had been printed, but there was no evidence of their publication."

Non-Cancer Act convictions
Sometimes cancer is mentioned in the reports but the prosecution or conviction wasn't done under the Cancer Act 1939.

Other possible breaches, 2012, 2011 Obviously it is up to a court to determine if someone has actually breached the Cancer Act 1939 but it is usually fairly obvious if someone is skating a bit close towards that point.

Undercover probe exposes church offering cancer cure (15 August 2012) Hold the Front Page
No Trading Standards involvement in this example (Victorious Pentecostal Assembly) but the article mentions that the claims made could well be illegal. There are a number of churches which seem to skate close to the CA1939 including those offering miraculous healing oils, miracle mineral solution (now known as master mineral solution - basically bleach). See also on this story: 'Miracle healing': Nigerian pastor lands trouble in UK (22 September 2012) Just Believe blog

Ofcom mulls smackdown for rogue religious TV channel: Ribena is not the blood of Christ and won't cure cancer (23 August 2011) The Register
"Ofcom also points out that anyone watching Believe TV is probably quite gullible, or, as the regulator puts it: "the self selecting audience of Believe TV ... may have been less likely to question the potentially harmful and exploitative content broadcast"." - no mention at all of Trading Standards involvement however.

Cancer Act-ivism
Shark cartilage in the water: effective legislation is already in place but is not being properly used (9 December 2006) BMJ
"I have now made successful use of this legislation in relation to patients who have used cancer therapies that have been advertised in both the complementary health sector and by registered medical practitioners associated with a registered pharmacy."

Further reading
New treatments for cancer need careful study. There is no evidence that a vegan diet cures patients (14 December 2014) Sunday Business

Comments on this post
I am no longer adding further examples of these almost-identical generic comments despite receiving between three and five a day of them as I think their purpose (which is to help people be aware that they're spam comments in case they come across them elsewhere) is served already. Anyone trying to leave a comment of that nature here, with promises of miracle cures and whatnot, has been pre-cursed by me and will experience dreadful pains before a lingering death. It's only what you deserve ;) Mwahahaha.


  1. "Anderson Morrison" would like me to publish this comment, but since it is spam I'm redacting the contact details. It's also dangerous nonsense and I wish every possible misery upon anyone flogging a fake cure for cancer.

    "ANDERSON MORRISON has left a new comment on your post "Cancer Act 1939 convictions in the UK":

    I was diagnosed of brain cancer 2006 and I want online searching for help so I saw a testimony on how Dr doctor [redacted] help people to cure their sickness and even how he help people to get pregnant with herb and black ancient powers so I contacted him to help to cure cancer am cancer am suffering from. After a while he replied me and told all I need to do and once he cast a spell of cleanse for me, i will regain back my heart I did and today I’m testified also be`cos Dr [redacted] cleanse spell with Herb cure my cancer if you need help from him You can email via:- [redacted] or you can as well contact him on his mobile line on [redacted]"

  2. Another similar comment, which I've also heavily redacted

    "hi there, i just want to share this great testimony of mine how this great man got me healed from the problem of cancer.
    i have been battening it for years and have done a lot of tests and and visited a lot of hospital but no cure. Until i
    came across the post of this great doctor, [redacted] who with his product free me from this sickness. i want to say at this
    junction that am very grateful for his help and i we forever remain grateful to him. if you are in need of his product here
    are his contacts [redacted] or call [redacted]."

  3. Dr Redacted REDACTED has left the following message, pretending to be someone called [Ms Redacted]. It's a wee bit suspicious that the name and email address match that of the comment sender ;)

    The information below is unevidenced lies that appear on comments and forum posts across the internet in various forms. All nonsense. The reason I post them is in case anyone else is searching to find out whether or not this is real, it's not.

    My name is [Ms Redacted], and I base in CALIFORNIA, USA Do you know that there is a great Herbal doctor who can cure any deadly disease. Like Cancer, Hiv, syphilis, diebeties, madness, low spam count And also bring back your Lover e.t.c. Well my main reason why i am writing this right now is to inform the whole world about the great deeds, [Dr Redacted REDACTED] did for me. I was diagnosed of this deadly disease in the year 2000 ever since then i was taking my medications, until i met the great spell caster, though i never believed in spell. I saw many testimonies on how a great spell caster cured their deadly diseases. I contacted him through his phone number. I called him, he asked me to send him my email, which i did. He gave me a form to fill, I filled it and send it back to him. He told me that his god’s required some items in which he will use in casting a curing spell on me. I don’t know where to find the items he required. He told me that the only alternative is for of to send him the money, then he can help me to purchase the items from the items sellers. I promised myself to do anything to get cured. I sent him the money. He bought the items and casted a curing spell on me. Two day later he asked me to go for check-up, when i did the check-up i was tested HIV Negative. If you passing through hardship and you need a way out, kindly contact him via his email on [REDACTED] or call me on [REDACTED phone number]

  4. More redacted spam (why do I post spam messages? In case others come across them and wonder if they're genuine, they're not).

    Am short of words, i am so happy
    because [REDACTED] has healed me from HIV ailment
    which i have been suffering from the past 7years
    now, i have spend a lot of getting drugs from the
    hospital to keep me healthy, i have tried all means in
    life to be free from this HIV virus, but
    there was no answer until i found [REDACTED] the
    the man of African who prepare me some healing HERBAL MEDICINE
    that he uses to help me, now i am glad telling
    everyone that i am now HIV Negative, i am very
    happy, thank you [REDACTED] for bringing me back to life without any form of crisis, may the good
    lord that i serve bless you [REDACTED] and equip you to
    the higher grade for healing people and saving life. i am so amazed.
    so i will announced to everyone in the world, that are HIV positive to visit [REDACTED] for permanent cure, via mail [REDACTED] website , [REDACTED] email,,,, or ,,,,,,,,,,[REDACTED] email..... THESE ARE THE THINGS [REDACTED] DO. . HERPES . HIV/AIDS . CANCER weak erection and premature ejaculation,,,,, you can also contact him on [REDACTED phone number]

  5. Another one... again relevant contact details have been deleted.

    My name is glory philip from united states, i am here to thank [DR NAME] the powerful spell caster that rescue me from HIV AIDS. I was diagnosed of this disease in the year 2011, and because of this, i was very unhappy with my life, and i went into research on how i can get cured, i contacted alot of spell casters and none of them could help me rather than scammed me and took away my money without helping me. All this period of my life, i was sad and unhappy so one day as i was browsing the internet i decided to sign in a friend guestbook, only for me to see a testimony of a lady on how she was helped by [DR NAME], so i was confused to contact him at the moment because i didn't want to be scammed again but after one week, i decided to contact him, so when i contacted him, he assure me that he will help me and i told him that many spell casters has also told me this but they all scammed me, he told me not to worry that he is going to help me, So i believe in him because all i wanted was to be cured, he will prepare and send a medicine to me and i will have to take the medicine for 7 days,after taking it i will go to hospital to confirm my HIV status again, i believed him and ordered for his medicine and took it as he prescribed and actually my test result came out Negative., So viewers [DR NAME] is a God Gifted man and can help you to cure all types of sickness,For more information contact [DR NAME] via email:[EMAIL DELETED] or [PHONE NUMBER deleted]

  6. I am from New York. I was in trouble when doctor told me that I have been diagnosed with Genital Herpes… I though about my Family, I know my Family will face a serious problem when I’m gone, I lost hope and I wept all day, but one day I was surfing the internet I found [NAME REDACTED] contact number. I called him and he guided me. I asked him for solutions and he started the remedies for my health. Thank God, now everything is fine, I’m cured by [NAME REDACTED] herbal medicine, I’m very thankful to [NAME REDACTED] and very happy with my hubby and family. email him on [NAME REDACTED] OR contact his number:[NAME REDACTED]


    1. HIV/AIDS
    2. HERPES
    3. CANCER
    4. ALS

  7. Another liar writes -

    "My name is [REDACTED] from USA .I am here to give a testimony on how I got my can CANCER CURE. My ex left me for no reason because of my CANCER IN 3 years ago. He moved in with another woman, I felt like killing myself, my life became very bitter and sorrowful BECAUSE OF THE CANCER I HAVE. Then 1 day, a friend of mine told me about a great spell caster that is very good to help my problem with my CANCER and, my friend also said that the spell caster gave him some lucky numbers that he played in a lottery and he won. I didn't believe it because I've worked with so many of them and it didn't work. He begged me further so I decided to try this great spell caster called [REDACTED]. I still didn't believe. but I used the spell he gave me and the next day I went to my dr to comfirm and my dr said that the CANCER IS NO MORE I received a call from my darling boyfriend [REDACTED] AGAIN last week. He apologized and came back to me. He even gave me 10,000USD as a means of compensating me. I'm very happy now. Thank you [REDACTED], You can reach [REDACTED] ON via email: [REDACTED] OR you can call [REDACTED] on +[REDACTED]. He can solve any problem like,


    (1) If you want your ex back.
    (2) you need a divorce in your relationship.
    (3) You want to be promoted in your office.
    (4) You want women & men to run after you.
    (5) If you want a child.
    (6) You want to be rich.
    (7) You want to tie your husband & wife to be yours forever.
    (8) If you need financial stance.
    (9) He can make you pregnancy.
    (10) He can cure you from any diseases.
    (11) HIV CURE.
    (12) Do you have a low sperm count?
    contact: [REDACTED]"

  8. Floritino Jani Renaur hoped to get their spam comment here, bad news Floritino - I've redacted the info and reported the email address to Gmail's abuse department (

    I was in trouble when my doctor told me that I have been diagnosed with Colon Cancer Disease… I thought about my children, I know my children will face a serious problem when I'm gone, I lost hope and I wept all day, but one day I was surfing the internet, I found a testimony of someone that was cured of CANCER Disease by Dr [REDACTED]. I collected his contact email. I mailed him and he guided me. I asked him for solutions and he started the remedies for my health. Thank Allah, now everything is fine, I'm cured by Dr. [REDACTED] herbal medicine, I'm very thankful to Dr [REDACTED]. And now, I'm happy with my loved ones again. You can also email him on [REDACTED] phone number (whatsapp) or call [REDACTED]. you can easily reach him If you have a similar problem.[REDACTED]


Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

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).