Black Salve (brand name Cansema) is an alternative cancer treatment that carries many health risks and is highly dangerous and controversial.
This product is what’s known as an ‘escharotic’ – a topical paste that destroys skin tissue leaving behind a black scar known as an ‘eschar’. During the early 1990s, these products were commonly used to treat skin lesions but have since been replaced for numerous safer and more effective methods.
The basic use of Cansema is to ‘burn away’ cancerous skin lesions. Cansema has been used for many decades to treat cancer but has been recognized as quackery for at least 60 years. One Time article from 1955 is quoted as saying:
“A 37-year-old housewife had a skin condition that later (at Duke) proved not to be a cancer. Convinced that it was, she had gone to a backwoods healer, who applied a salve. Soon a quarter-sized hole disfigured her nose, opened up the nasal cavity. Duke's plastic surgeons had to build her a new nose.”
The effectiveness of these treatments is completely unfounded and unproven and many safer and more effective treatments for skin lesions exist including imiquimod, fluorouracil, radiation therapy, surgery and more. Escharotics cause unnecessary severe scarring to normal skin and the strength of the products is completely unregulated. The method is listed by the US FDA among 187 fake cancer cures. Meanwhile, the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia recommends consumers against the purchase or use of these products.
Despite this, some websites still market similar escharotics for treating skin cancer. Overall, this is an irredeemable, dangerous treatment that preys on the desperation of cancer treatments and potentially causes permanent disfigurement. Avoid!