Complementary cancer therapies ‘do more harm than good’

Posted 14 November 2019

BBC News 14 November 2019

Cancer patients should tell their doctors if they are taking herbal products because some of the ingredients could stop their treatment working, a cancer conference has heard.

Garlic, ginger and ginkgo pills, for example, can delay the healing of skin wounds when breast cancer spreads.

Surgeon Prof Maria Joao Cardoso, said there was no evidence that herbal therapies or creams worked.

If in doubt, it was best not to take anything, she said.

“Doctors need to be more proactive about asking their patients what else they are taking when they are being treated for cancer,” Prof Cardoso, head breast surgeon at the Champalimaud Cancer Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, told the BBC.

She said it was particularly important that patients always checked with their doctors first before trying complementary therapies for cancer that had spread to the skin.

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Alternative Medicine Kills Cancer Patients, Study Finds

Posted 15 August 2017

“A team of scientists from Yale University perused the National Cancer Database, a collection of 34 million records of cancer patients along with their treatments and outcomes, to identify patients who elected to forgo conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery in favor of alternative medicine. They found 280 subjects diagnosed with nonmetastatic breast, prostate, lung, or colorectal cancer in 2004 who used alternative medicine (defined in the database as “other-unproven: cancer treatments administered by non- medical personnel”) and matched them with 560 control subjects who received conventional treatment.” 

“After five years, 78.3% of subjects who received conventional treatments were still alive, compared to only 54.7% of subjects who used alternative medicine. Even more startling, breast cancer patients who used alternative medicine were five times more likely to die. Colorectal cancer patients were four times more likely to die. Lung cancer patients were twice Read the rest

Cancer patients are losing valuable time – and risking their lives – with alternative therapies, doctors say

Posted 13 November 2015

This article written by Tom Blackwell and published in the National Post on November 11, 2015, may result in those against alternative medicines supporting it without question, and those supporting alternative medicines being highly critical and dismissive of it.

It is important to try to read an article like this with an open mind – and then formulate your opinion. Are the claims true, exaggerated, or devoid of truth? We are posting it simply to highlight a topical issue.

“Research from Alberta, never before publicly reported, suggests that at least one in every 100 breast-cancer patients rejects standard care and doubles her likelihood of death as a result”.

“There is no systematic, national tracking of the phenomenon, but apply those findings to everyone newly diagnosed with cancer, and they suggest almost 2,000 Canadians are exposing themselves to similar risk every year”.

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New project reports on alleged “CAM” cancer treatments

Posted 10 June 2013

The National Information Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Tromsø, Norway, is now operating a project that reviews alleged “complementary and alternative” cancer treatments. The project—called “Concerted Action for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Assessment in the Cancer Field” (CAM-Cancer)—is funded mainly by the university’s National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM) and Reliable Cancer Therapies (RCT), a non-profit organization that provides research-based information on cancer treatments. The CAM-Cancer Web site has about 60 reports that can be downloaded and freely reproduced. 

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