Non-traditional Cancer Treatments

If it sounds to good to be true, it likely is.

I have had patients try alternative therapies for cancer and I recently heard that a good friend’s relative did this as well.  I have not seen one “cure” from non-traditional medicines/treatments, but have seen progressive disease with unapproved treatments are used.  If you present with a stage 1 cancer, your survival odds are better than a stage 2, and so forth down to stage 4.  I have witnessed stage 1 patients, return months later with stage 2 disease, i.e. lower survival rates.

If you want to try a alternative therapy, it is your right.  This is the crucial question to ask though, “show me the phase 3 clinical data that shows improvement in cure rates.”  You are asking about a trial that compares standard therapy with a new therapy, and outcomes should be better with the new therapy if it is a successful trial.  It has to be a blinded trial, meaning that those enrolling the patients on the trial don’t know what they are giving the patients, i.e. treatment a or treatment b.  It should also be a multi-institutional trial to avoid regional selection bias into the trial. If all these criteria are met, then you can make the adult decision and choose your choice of treatment.  If there is no data, an only case reports, it is really playing russian roulette with 5 bullets in the gun.  Anecdotal stories for cancer treatment is literally gambling with lives.

This isn’t a comparison of Eastern vs. Western medicine, or to put down other therapies, but a quick education on how to ask the right questions if you seek non-FDA approved treatments for cancer.


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