Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer


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1. Introduction

However, if such therapies are associated with an adverse effect on cancer survival, the argument that they improve quality of life, even if supported by evidence, rapidly becomes untenable. Despite the widespread use of CAM , there is limited research evaluating the association of CM with survival.

We previously investigated alternative medicine therapy used instead of CCT and showed that its use vs nonuse was associated with an increased risk of death, 11 but we did not investigate CM. Approximately two-thirds of patients with cancer believe that CM will prolong life and one-third expect it to cure their disease.

Therefore, in light of the lack of knowledge regarding the association between CM and overall survival in patients with cancer, we used a large national database to identify patients who underwent CM for cancer in addition to CCT. We investigated factors associated with selection of CM, the association between use of CM and delay of initiation of CCT or refusal of further CCT, and how these factors seemed to mediate survival outcomes in patients who used CM compared with those who used no CM.

It is a clinical oncology database sourced from hospital registry data collected by the more than 1, facilities accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer CoC. Using this database, the authors carried out a retrospective observational cohort study of 1,, patients from 1, CoC—accredited centers across the United States who were diagnosed with nonmetastatic breast, prostate, lung, or colorectal cancer between January 1, , and December 31, Treatment refusal did not include patients not receiving treatment because of contraindications or patient risk factors, nor did it include cases where treatment was recommended but not received for an unknown reason.

Treatment delay was defined as the number of days between diagnosis and first treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery, or hormonal therapy. The results in these patients were compared to a matched cohort of patients pulled from the same database. Regarding the patients found in the database, the patients who used CM tended to be younger mean age, 56 vs. In other words, these patients were very similar to the patients who chose alternative medicine instead of conventional treatment in the study last year. One interesting tidbit that I noticed in eTable 1 in the Supplemental Data section was that, in the multivariate model, those using CM were more likely to be treated in an academic medical center odds ratio 1.

Sadly, integrative oncology is, if you exclude the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, primarily a creature of academic medical centers—at least thus far. That this is true is primarily a failure as academics like myself to assure that the medicine being taught and practiced in what should be bastions of science-based medicine is, in fact, actually science-based. The other interesting thing about the characteristics of the patients choosing CM to me, at least was that in the raw data eTable 1 again they tended to be more common in either stage I or stage III.

First, remember that these were potentially curable patients; so patients with stage IV disease at diagnosis were excluded from this study. Stage III patients tend to have the most locally advanced disease and require the most aggressive multimodality therapy to achieve remission or cure; so intuitively it makes sense that such patients might be drawn to CAM or CM. But what about stage I? As the authors speculate:. We also found an association between a higher stage of cancer and greater likelihood to select CM vs a lower stage of cancer , which has been unexplored in prior literature, to our knowledge.

It is unclear if the higher stage of cancer motivates patients to select CM or if patients who select CM present with more advanced disease as a result of delay in screening or diagnosis, given that the majority of CAM use is intended to prevent illness or disease. There is evidence to suggest that a less hopeful cancer prognosis is associated with use of CM.

We excluded patients with incurable disease to account for this potential contributor to use of CM. As for the rest of the characteristics associated with CAM use white race, higher socioeconomic status, etc. Finally, also remember that this study specifically looked at patients who had chosen at least one conventional treatment for their cancers and also chose CM.


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Presumably, that means that they chose the first curative modality usually used for these cancers surgery for breast, colorectal, or non-small cell lung cancer ; surgery or radiation therapy for prostate cancer; surgery or chemoradiation for small cell lung cancer. Adjuvant therapies, of course, are not primarily curative in themselves; they are intended to decrease the risk of disease recurrence.

Hormone therapy for breast cancer. Hormone therapy for prostate cancer.

Alternative medicine kills cancer patients, “complementary” edition

Immunotherapy to treat cancer. Internal radiation therapy brachytherapy. NCI dictionary of cancer terms: First-line therapy. Pardoll, D. Cancer and the immune system: Basic concepts and targets for intervention. Radiation therapy. Targeted cancer therapies. MLA Eske, Jamie. MediLexicon, Intl. APA Eske, J. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

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Choosing the right treatment for you

By Jamie Eske. Alternative treatments may be available if chemotherapy is not working. What are the side effects of chemotherapy? Chemotherapy can potentially cause many side effects. Learn more about the side effects of chemotherapy here. Females may gain weight with hormone therapy. Other health problems may influence treatment options. Related coverage. Additional information.

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This content requires JavaScript to be enabled. Energy therapies are based on the theory that there are energy fields around the human body. It is believed that by changing the purported energy field by manual manipulations, such as Qigong or therapeutic touch, or the application of electromagnetic fields, disease can be eliminated.

Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer - PDF Free Download

The existence of such energy fields has not been scientifically proven. Therapeutic touch TT , despite its name, involves no direct contact. TT healers in many areas of the U. Bioelectromagnetic field therapies involve the use of pulsed, alternating or direct current and magnetic fields to treat medical conditions. Clinical trials have been conducted to test magnetic field therapies in managing pain [ 39 , 40 ], tremor [ 41 ], epilepsy [ 42 ], and migraine headaches [ 43 ].

No data support their role in any illness. Because this group of alternative treatments is invasive and biologically active, it is highly controversial. One such therapy is antineoplastons, developed by Stanislaw Burzynski in his clinic in Houston, Texas [ 44 ]. A joint research effort by the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine and the NCI failed to accrue sufficient numbers of patients, and none of the six patients assessable for response showed tumor regression [ 45 ].

Further research at the Burzynski Institute was permitted under an Investigational New Drug permit [ 46 ]. Immuno-augmentation therapy IAT , subcutaneous injections of sera derived from the blood of healthy donors, was developed by the late Lawrence Burton and offered in his clinic in the Bahamas. Burton claimed that IAT was particularly effective in treating mesothelioma [ 49 ]. Advocates of shark cartilage as a cancer therapy base their therapy on its putative antiangiogenic properties [ 51 ]. Neovastat, another cartilage extract, was associated with a survival benefit in renal cell carcinoma in higher versus lower doses [ 53 ].

However, that trial was not randomized. Many additional unproven methods, such as Laetrile [ 55 , 56 ], bioresonance therapy, oxygen and ozone therapies, insulin potentiation therapy, and many more [ 26 ], are promoted as literal alternatives to mainstream cancer treatment. Their popularities wax and wane over time. Cancer patients use over-the-counter dietary supplements in addition to or instead of other cancer treatments. An important trend is the increased use of herbal products instead of other supplements in recent years [ 58 ].

Systematic, evidence-based information on popular dietary supplements used by cancer patients and herb-drug interactions in oncology is available to consumers and health care professionals [ 26 , 59 ]. The general public tends not to be aware that herbs are dilute natural drugs that contain scores of different chemicals, most of which have not been documented [ 60 ]. Their effects are not always predictable [ 61 ]. Neither the FDA nor any other agency examines herbal remedies for safety and effectiveness.

Few products have been formally tested for side effects or quality control. Patients undergoing active treatment should be told to stop using herbal remedies, because some herbs cause problematic interactions with chemotherapeutic agents, sensitization of the skin to radiation therapy, dangerous blood pressure swings, and other unwanted interactions with anesthetics during surgery [ 62 ].

Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer
Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer
Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer
Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer
Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer Complementary Oncology: Adjunctive Methods in the Treatment of Cancer

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