The need for new cancer treatments is a constant need. Options like chemotherapy and
radiation treatment have been around for decades, with a high rate of success. They have
offered cancer patients great success in fighting cancer and living a longer, healthier life. As a
result, these two treatment options remain a mainstay in cancer treatment. They are often, for
example, the first cancer treatments prescribed.
These treatments, however, come with their own range of side effects and challenges. The
primary source of these side effects has to do with how these treatments work. The biggest con
of treatments like chemotherapy and radiation is that they are considered systemic treatments:
they do not target things very specifically and can affect areas of the body all over the body.
Yes, they can target and destroy fast growing cancer cells, but they can also target fast growing
hair or gut cells, or healthy cells in developing children. The result can be cancer treatment that
leaves you feeling sick and miserable.
That’s why treatments that are more specific are desperately needed. Keep reading to learn
more about one particular option that has been explored and theorized for how specific it could
be in targeting cancer and tumor development: shark cartilage.
What is shark cartilage?
Shark cartilage is the biological materials that sharks of made of. In fact, because sharks do not
have any bones at all, their body is made entirely of cartilage.
Cartilage is a soft type of tissue. Humans have cartilage on their bodies as well. The most
common example of cartilage are the human earlobes.
Shark cartilage is often ground up and sold in pill form as a type of supplement
What role does shark cartilage play in our health?
Shark cartilage is used for a range of health purposes because of what shark cartilage contains.
Specifically, cartilage contains a range of compounds, such as calcium and
Shark cartilage has been suggested as a treatment for a range of ailments, including boosting
the immune system, inflammation, and more.
How does shark cartilage help with cancer?
The theory behind the use of shark cartilage for cancer treatment has to do with the nature of
cartilage. Cartilage, on the surface, usually just appears as a soft, flimsy piece of skin or tissue.
Shark cartilage, in particular, does not contain blood vessels.
Researchers quickly became interested in this property, and wanted to learn whether or how
certain compounds in cartilage that prevent the development of blood vessels could be
manipulated and used to prevent the growth of blood vessels near or around cancer cells and
tumors. This is a process called angiogenesis. That’s because one of the first things a tumor
wants to do is connect itself to a source of energy. But creating blood vessels, it can tap into a
continuous stream of nutrients from the body’s blood. Cutting off blood vessels to a tumor
would, in theory, starve the tumor.
Is shark cartilage an effective treatment for cancer?
Shark cartilage has a bit of a controversial history when it comes to cancer treatment. One case
study of a man with Kaposi sarcoma found that shark cartilage may have helped with
Overall, however, the impact of shark cartilage on cancer patient quality of life and overall
survival is hard to ascertain. One study could not demonstrate a meaningful link between shark
cartilage and patient quality of life in people with certain kinds of advanced cancer. And earlier
study also raised doubts about whether or how shark cartilage could work as a cancer
Is shark cartilage a safe treatment for cancer?
Generally, shark cartilage is considered safe when taken at the optimal dose and not for longer
that recommend, usually about 8 weeks or so. It can also cause certain mild side effects, such
as nausea and vomiting. It’s also been known to leave a bad taste in the mouth.
With any type of cancer treatment, it’s important to make sure you fully understand the available
treatment options and choose options that work for you. This should include talking to your
doctor before starting any cancer treatment. They can help you decide which treatment options
are right for you.