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Cancer Myths

CANSA Do Lemons Kill Cancer Cells?

CANSA Do Lemons Kill Cancer Cells?


An email claiming the humble lemon is a “miraculous product’ that kills cancer cells and has been proven “10 000 times stronger than chemotherapy” was spread on the Internet in January 2011. Read the article “Lemons and Cancer” here.

CANSA Research Department Responds


No evidence could be found that lemons or molecules from lemons are able to cure cancer.


A quick interaction with Pubmed, using the search terms “cancer” and “lemon”, resulted in the following conclusions:

  • There is some kind of link between lemon and cancer (about 800 hits which is high)
  • There are indications of molecules found in lemons (e.g. limonin) acting as cancer preventive agents by killing cancer cells (such as colon adenocarcinoma) through apoptosis
  • There is some evidence that lemon molecules can arrest the growth of certain tumours in humans (clinical trials)
  • No evidence could be found of cancer cures brought about by lemons or molecules from lemons
  • No evidence could be found of lemon molecules working better than known anti-cancer drugs such as adriamysin

We conclude that the email is a hoax based on a sliver of truth. Although CANSA believes that lemons can’t cure cancer, we acknowledge that they play an important role in the overall prevention of cancer.

Queries CANSA

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