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Using Alternative Cancer Treatment Reduces Your Survival Chances

By jeremyc | August 5, 2018

People who’ve treatable cancer and use complementary alternative medicine sometimes refuse to use conventional cancer treatments. According a new report, these patients are harming their survival chances.

Many cancer patients use complementary medicines such as homeopathy, herbs and vitamins so that they can better manage the unwanted effects conventional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.

However, a recent study suggests many such patients are not using alternative medicines to complement conventional treatment but rather as its replacement. The study goes on to say that such people are lowering their chances of survival.

In this study, the researchers looked at the data of 1,290 individuals diagnosed with different forms of cancer, such as lung, prostate, breast, or colorectal cancer. They compared the survival rate of 258 patients who opted for complementary medicine with more than a thousand patients who chose to stick with conventional cancer treatment.

The results reveal that people who opt to use complementary treatment tend to reject at minimum one recommended conventional treatment like hormone therapy, radiation or chemotherapy.

In effect these people were hand-picking which conventional cancer treatment they wished to use.

The researchers found that cancer patients who opted for complementary treatment along with conventional treatments carried a two times increased risk of death than people who used only conventional cancer treatments.

Alternative treatments that cancer patients frequently use include traditional Chinese medicine, herbs, vitamins, naturotherapy, homeopathy, and specialized diets.

This study didn’t look at how an individual complementary treatment, such as the ones above, affects cancer survival. And being a purely observational study it didn’t prove cause and effect, either.

An earlier study done by these very researchers had found that the risk of dying was 2.5 times greater among cancer patients who used only complementary treatments, compared to those who went only with conventional treatments.

The researchers state that they have nothing against complementary cancer treatments but their use should be limited to only alleviating unwanted effects of conventional treatment and the patients using them shouldn’t refuse any recommended aspect of their cancer care.



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