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Using only alternative therapy for cancer ups death risk: Study

The study appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute

ANI  |  Washington DC 

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Olive Oil. Photo: Pixabay

Patients who choose to receive alternative therapy as treatment for curable cancers instead of conventional treatment have a higher risk of death, according to a recent study.

There is increasing interest by patients and families in pursuing alternative as opposed to conventional treatment. This trend has created a difficult situation for patients and providers.

"We became interested in this topic after seeing too many patients present in our clinics with advanced cancers that were treated with ineffective and unproven alternative therapies alone," said senior author James B. Yu.

To investigate alternative use and its impact on survival compared to conventional treatment, the researchers from the Outcomes, Public Policy and Effectiveness Research (COPPER) Center at Yale School of and Yale Center studied 840 patients with breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal in the National (NCDB).

The NCDB represents approximately 70% of newly diagnosed cancers nationwide. Researchers compared 280 patients who chose alternative to 560 patients who had received conventional treatment.

The researchers studied patients diagnosed from 2004 to 2013. By collecting the outcomes of patients who received alternative instead of chemotherapy, surgery, and/or radiation, they found a greater risk of death. This finding persisted for patients with breast, lung, and colorectal

The researchers concluded that patients who chose treatment with alternative were more likely to die and urged for greater scrutiny of the use of alternative for the initial treatment of

"We now have evidence to suggest that using alternative in place of proven therapies results in worse survival," said lead author Skyler Johnson. "It is our hope that this information can be used by patients and physicians when discussing the impact of treatment decisions on survival."

The study appears in the Journal of the National Institute.

First Published: Fri, August 11 2017. 21:21 IST
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