Skeptics in the Pub – Ben Hardwidge – The myth that sharks don’t get cancer

Thursday 17 January 2013, 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


Ben Hardwidge

Ben Hardwidge

According to some nutritionists and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine, sharks don’t get cancer. It’s a myth that’s not only brought false hope to sufferers of one of the world’s horrific diseases, who are told that consuming shark cartilage can cure cancer, but it’s also contributed to a recent acceleration in demand for shark cartilage, which has had devastating impact on the world’s shark populations. In fact, it’s estimated that 38 million sharks are slaughtered every year.

After millions of years serving as the oceans’ main apex predator, many shark species are now on the brink of extinction following just a few decades of indiscriminate fishing. People often ask ‘where the harm?’ when it comes to using alternative medicine, and this talk will explain the very real and costly price of relying on unregulated, bogus medicine to treat cancer.

In this talk, marine conservation enthusiast Ben Hardwidge will explore the theories behind using medicines derived from sharks and rays, and explain the devastating impact that overfishing them is having on our marine ecosystem. As well as this, he will also introduce the ideas behind a new scepticism campaign in development, which aims to raise awareness about medicines based on shark cartilage, while appealing to major retailers to stop stocking them.


Edinburgh Skeptics in the Pub takes place on the 3rd Thursday each month in the Banshee Labyrinth.  The event starts at 7:30 sharp, with a talk for an hour or so. There’s a short break to recharge glasses followed by a Q & A session.

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