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Melanoma Caregivers

Alternative treatment

Has anyone used the Hoxsey tonic?

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I was unfamiliar with this product so I went to a highly reliable, scientifically supported medical site that treats and researches cancer, Sloan Kettering: mskcc.org/cancer-care/integ...

Here is their summary:

Hoxsey Herbal Therapy is not a cancer cure and some of its components may be dangerous.

Hoxsey herbal tonic was developed by Harry Hoxsey’s great grandfather after his horse was cured of a leg tumor by eating wild herbs. Hoxsey combined these herbs with home cancer remedies popular at the time to create a tonic to be taken by mouth, as well as a preparation for topical application. Hoxsey’s remedies were promoted in newspapers and through his clinic through the first half of the 20th century, but eventually the U.S. government forced him to stop selling medicines without a medical license.

According to Hoxsey, the tonic stimulates detoxification of the body while normalizing cell metabolism. However there is no proof for this. His tonic has never been tested in the laboratory, in animals, or in humans, and there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that it has anticancer effects in the human body. Hoxsey also claimed that his topical medicine would selectively kill cancer cells, however the caustic ingredients contained in the ointment are known to burn healthy tissue as well.

The American Cancer Society strongly urges cancer patients not to use the Hoxsey treatment.

As a caregiver, I recommend discussing all treatments, including herbals or topicals, with the treatment team. There can be serious interactions with herbals, vitamins and medical grade interventions. I'm sorry that you are struggling as a supporter of your loved one and encourage you to investigate clinical trials and conversations with authorized medical professionals to support your partnership. Missy

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Thank you for the information. My husband does not want to take immunotherapy at this time and I am looking for any alternatives. He has developed a cough as he has mets in both lungs.


You are in a very challenging place Maryann64.

Have you and your husband been able to have a frank discussion together and with your provider about palliative care sovthere can be clarity as to what kinds of treatments, side effects and potential to help with comfort vs improvement in the cancer disease itself fits best with your family values and preferences?

There are some language challenges with melanoma care:


Targeted therapy

Precision medicine




Proton therapy

Care based on genetic tumor profiling

Palliative care vs hospice care

Clinical trials including melanoma vaccine research

All of the above are within the scientific scopes of current medicine with varying degrees of knowledge, support and limitations for effectiveness effectiveness is usually described in terms of progression free survival rates

People often have concerns about potential and likely side effects rightly so I’m not sure what your husbands particular concerns are about immune therapy but it can be worth a discussion with the providers

In our case my husband had practically no side effects from Keytruda. He was tired sooner at night, but continues working full time. He developed very mild lower arm rash treated with prescription steroid cream. His biggest side effect has been chronic dry mouth he drinks lots of water and uses ACT dry mouth lozenges his teeth have had some damage due to a lack of saliva so he has prescription toothpaste and goes more frequently for cleanings

Wayne has had 42 rounds of Keytruda and it has protected all his major organs so far he has Stage 4 melanoma and the past 9 months he has had 3 tumors removed from the top portions of his skin in 2 different locations but the initial primary site from his scalp has remitted and not had a recurrence

My heart goes out to you both I’ll be interested to hear what he chooses and how that goes for you both



Thank you so much. We cannot get to far in discussing treatments. He developed pneumonia and is now on antibiotic. I am so happy to hear you are having minimal side effects and getting good results!


Thinking of you and your husband today, Maryann64.



Thank you. We found out yesterday it is not pneumonia. He has pleural effusion. They removed a quart today. We are going to see the oncologist tuesday. I think he will be ready for any treatment.


Hopefully your husband is breathing easier since the load on his lungs has been eased. Whenever we go to see our docs, we go with written questions and one of us writes down the answers as we go. Other folks in our melanoma support group record the conversations with their providers using their smart phone, and then transcribe answers at home. Of course, they ask first if they can record, but all the folks have said it is ok.

Please keep us up. I hope you have a productive meeting with the oncologist.




If you haven't already started writing down some questions, I recently posted to Caryninfl some suggested questions that might give you a place to start.