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Saturday, 21 July 2018

Cancer patients who choose complementary medicine are twice as likely to die within seven years, study suggests

Cancer patients who choose complementary medicine are twice as likely to die within seven years, study suggestsCancer patients who choose complementary medicine over treatments like chemotherapy, or surgery, are twice as likely to die within seven years, the first major study has shown. Researchers from Yale University followed 1,290 patients who were diagnosed with breast, prostate, lung, or colorectal cancer between 2004 and 2013. Of those, they found 258 used complementary medicine and 1,032 used conventional therapies. After seven years, the research showed that around 85 per cent of people who used recommended medical treatment survived, compared with just 70 per cent of those who chose alternative methods. “The fact that complementary medicine use is associated with higher refusal of proven cancer treatments as well as increased risk of death should give providers and patients pause,” said lead author Dr Skyler Johnson chief resident in radiation oncology at Yale School of Medicine. “Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion about the role of complementary therapies. “Although they may be used to support patients experiencing symptoms from cancer treatment, it looks as though they are either being marketed or understood to be effective cancer treatments.” In numbers | Cancer in the UK The research showed that people who used complementary medicine alongside traditional treatments did neither better or worse than those on conventional regimes, suggesting it was the refusal of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery that was driving the poorer outcomes. “Past research into why patients use non-medical complementary treatments has shown the majority of cancer patients who use complementary medicines believe their use will result in improved survival,” said the study’s senior author, Dr James Yu, associate professor of therapeutic radiology at Yale Cancer Center. “We became interested in this topic after we reviewed the literature, and found that there was scant evidence to support this belief.” The research was published in journal JAMA Oncology.




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