Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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Hydrogen Peroxide As Cancer Fighting Agent?

Thursday, 08 Jul 2010 02:09 PM


Question: I have recently seen, on the Internet, information regarding the use of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) for everything from lessening cold symptoms to treating cancer. The treatments range from drops in the ears to ingesting a diluted “food grade” form. Is there any benefit to using hydrogen peroxide, beyond the obvious topical disinfectant?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Hydrogen peroxide is a clear, weak acid that often appears like water, and is often used as a bleaching agent. It is corrosive and is a strong oxidizing agent. Diluted peroxide solution (1-3%) will cause a temporary blanching of the intact skin surface as a result of capillary embolism. More concentrated solutions are used as a propellant, and will explode on mixture with alcohol and facilitate spontaneous ignition (fire).

Dilute solutions of peroxide (1-3%) are useful as a topical disinfectant. It is also useful for removing blood from clothing and various surfaces, but it will bleach the color out of colored clothing as well as human hair.

Peroxide solution is NOT recommended for use in open wounds. Hydrogen peroxide is toxic to cells — that is, it KILLS living cells. Recent literature has advised it be removed from emergency departments of American hospitals, as it has been misused for cleaning or irrigating open wounds, with occasional disastrous consequences. Applied to an open wound, it kills the very cells we need to repair, and often will generate a sterile (meaning an infection-free) abscess.

Since it has often been misused as a topical disinfectant for open wounds, many patients have had their healing delayed and their potential for scar formation increased. There are many reports of patients who have actually been subjected to unnecessary surgery to relieve the abscesses generated by irrigating a surgical wound with peroxide.

Now, with this knowledge, do you really want to inject yourself with this? Do you really want to insert these drops blindly into your ear canal or to "clean an open wound?" Any person who applies this to an open wound should be scolded. The American Cancer Society has stated this is worthless for cancer treatment.

Please do not swallow this either. Fatal blood disorders have been associated with the internal use of hydrogen peroxide solution.

There is no conventional medicinal use for intravenous peroxide, despite the unsubstantiated claims of the charlatans that inject patients with this substance. Treat this substance with respect and follow the directions for use carefully when used. Avoid believing Internet claims for cures and treatments. The claims can appear very reasonable, but there is no effective regulation of the Internet to protect you from false claims for health guidance. Look for sources with reliable information, such as major hospitals as well as consumer sites from The National Institute for Health (NIH) to guide your thirst for medical information. As medical professionals, we have access to professional sites that are not always fully accessible to the consumer.


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