The benefits and potential downsides of hydrogen peroxide therapy for cancer are topics of heavy debate. Some experts and researchers swear by the substance's curative effects for a host of illnesses, including cancer, while others maintain that using hydrogen peroxide internally is dangerous and potentially fatal. More studies are likely needed to determine whether hydrogen peroxide therapy is a good idea for most cancer patients.
Hydrogen peroxide is a compound substance found naturally. Ozone combines with water in the atmosphere and falls to the ground as peroxide, and certain “good” bacteria and vitamins create hydrogen peroxide in the human body as a natural disinfectant against pathogens. These positives aspects are the premise behind using hydrogen peroxide therapy for cancer treatment.
It is said by supporters that once inside the body, hydrogen peroxide, or H2O2, releases its extra oxygen atom and converts to water. This released oxygen is said to widen blood vessels and oxygenate the blood, while allowing blood to also flow more easily. It is also said to stimulate the immune system, which helps the body to naturally destroy cancer cells.
Supporters of hydrogen peroxide therapy for cancer claim that this heightened immune response is responsible for peroxide's cancer-fighting properties. Some studies have shown that this immune response can be effective at fighting cancer cells, and some alternative health facilities offer it as a treatment option for those who don't want to use conventional medicinal options for their cancer treatments.
The downsides of using hydrogen peroxide therapy for cancer treatment are also not entirely understood. Its long-term safety has not been established, but it has been shown that using hydrogen peroxide internally is potentially harmful, or even fatal. When used as an internal solution, it must be taken in appropriate doses and be heavily diluted to prevent burns and erosion. Some patients have died due to internal damage caused by the use of internal hydrogen peroxide.
Release of the extra oxygen atom, while being beneficial for boosting the immune system, can also cause harm to the body. These oxygen atoms are free radicals, and are not attached to another atom as a compound. Free radicals have been shown to damage tissues and may even increase the risk for cancer.
Whether or not the proposed benefits of using hydrogen peroxide for cancer therapy are more beneficial than the free radicals such treatments leave in their wake is up for debate. More studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and safety of the therapy. At the time of this writing, no mainstream cancer or health organization advocates for the use of hydrogen peroxide therapy as a cancer treatment option.