The claim that fenben, a medication used to treat parasitic worms in animals (commonly known as fenben or FBZ), can cure cancer is gaining popularity on social media. The claim is based on the anecdotal account of Joe Tippens, a man who claims that his cancer went into remission after taking fenben as prescribed by a veterinarian. While several animal anthelmintic drugs have been found to have anticancer effects, this is not the case for fenben. Health Canada lists fenben as only suitable for use in animals and research into this drug has not yet resulted in any human trials.
A fenben for cancer claim popped up on TikTok and other social media platforms, where it was shared by users with the hashtag #fenbenforcancer. While the anecdotal evidence behind the claim is weak, it has spread quickly and has been viewed millions of times. Many patients are misled by these posts, which often lack proper medical context and rely on unsubstantiated information. While it is not entirely clear what the mechanism by which fenben might cause cancer to go into remission, recent studies have shown that the drug interferes with glucose uptake in cancer cells and induces ferroptosis through decreased expression of glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4) in colorectal cancer cells.
Despite this, the majority of patients interviewed did not have detailed knowledge of how fenbendazole may cure cancer and were unaware that this drug has been clinically proven in humans or has undergone preclinical testing. Most had a negative attitude toward complementary and alternative medicine, which they regarded as false information that must be verified by experts or filtered according to their own arbitrary criteria.
This is a troubling finding because it means that some patients are being exposed to inaccurate information that could have serious consequences for their health. Furthermore, the fact that this information is so widespread on social media demonstrates how easy it is for nonmedical individuals to disseminate and share medical information online without verifying its accuracy.
In addition, there is no evidence that fenben is effective against cancer in humans, and the anecdotal evidence supporting this claim is flawed. This is because the anecdotal evidence only involves a single person’s story and does not take into consideration other factors that may have contributed to their remission, such as his use of conventional cancer treatment at the same time.
In our study, we interviewed nine cancer patients with stage one to stage four of lung adenocarcinoma about where they obtained their information on fenbendazole for cancer and about complementary and alternative medicine in general. The participants’ ages ranged from 56 to 75 years. They had all heard about fenbendazole for cancer from TV, Internet communities or portal sites, and YouTube. Some had also heard about it from acquaintances or family members. Regardless of the channel they used to acquire information, most patients actively searched for information on the internet or YouTube and tended to check its source, especially on YouTube. fenben for cancer