Using only alternative cancer therapies is linked to lower survival

Using only alternative cancer therapies is linked to lower survival
 
Cancer patients who chose solely alternative therapies rather than conventional cancer therapies like surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy had a significantly poorer survival record, according to researchers from the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center (Journal of the National Cancer Institute online)
 
In one of the most mis-quoted studies of the last decade, CANCERactive provides readers with the accurate detail:
 
The study looked at people who ONLY used alternative therapies – rather than any conventional therapies.  The researchers correctly stated that little was known about such outcomes prior to the research. 
 
This was NOT about people who used ‘alternative’ therapies alongside conventional therapies.  This use of both together is, nowadays, correctly called Integrative Medicine – and Yale themselves have an Integrative Medical Center and support such a programme.
Also, there is no evidence to tell whether or not this was one group using alternative medicine, versus the other group using ONLY orthodox medicine. The second group may have been doing exercise, using an improved diet and/or taking supplements.
 
The researchers studied 840 patients, diagnosed between 2004 and 2013, with breast, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers.  Of these 280 had only received ‘alternative’ therapies.  The research implied that the other 560 had used conventional medicine alone.  The research stated that it did not include people who said they were using Integrative Medicine.
 

 

Overall 5-year survival was 78.3% vs 54.7%. This translated into a ‘survival hazard of 2.21. The only cancer where 5-year survival did not differ significantly was prostate cancer. The other three cancer revealed data:
 
Breast – 86.6% vs 58.1%

 

Lung   – 41.3% vs 19.9%

 

CRC    -  79.4% vs 32.7%
Dr. James B. Yu, Dr. Skyler Johnson, Dr. Henry Park and Dr. Cary Gross leading the research concluded that conventional medicine had much better outcomes that ‘alternative’ alone. 
However, they also didn’t really detail exactly what the ’alternative’ therapies were.
 
Gross said that more research was needed adding that we just don’t know much about the outcomes of using a new immunotherapy or a high dose vitamin.
 
Chris Woollams, former Oxford University Biochemist and founder of CANCERactive said, “There has been a significant move, led by ‘alternative health’ journalists, researchers and practitioners’ in the USA to tell people that they are safer and better off with solely alternative rather than solely conventional therapies. I’m not sure either camp is correct.
At CANCERactive since day 1, we have argued for an Integrative or holistic approach to cancer treatment – the ‘best of the best’ is a phrase we use frequently.  In fact, that is exactly what Yale’s Integrative Medical Center argues.  If there’s a drug like Abiraterone that can deliver, or if Proton Beam Therapy will kill my cancer cells, I’d be wise to use it. If curcumin, melatonin, Hyperbaric Oxygen, berberine and/or metformin can make your orthodox treatment work more effectively, with less side-effects, you’d be crazy not to use them. 
 
My concern was also that the study talked about immunotherapy or high dose vitamins.  And the sole use of them as a treatment. Would people really do that? And isn’t immunotherapy, the fourth pillar of orthodoxy?
So, exactly what is an alternative therapy, according to the researchers?  Where do you draw the line? The Cyberknife, Nanoknife IRE, immunotherapy, virotherapy, HIFU, Photodynamic Therapy, Dendritic Cell Therapy and whole-body hyperthermia are all technically ‘alternative cancer therapies’ with no rigorous Phase III clinical trials, but all are used in, and even recommended by, some US hospitals.
And surgery is orthodox medicine. Are the researchers saying that all the ’alternative’ medicine users eschewed surgery.
At CANCERactive, we are realists. If you get cancer you want to use the best available treatments. If that is surgery followed by immunotherapy, backed up by a really good diet and exercise plan, then you’d be stupid not to use that integrative option.” 
 
 
2017 Research
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