Cancer: 2 times more risk of death among "alternative" medicines

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People who use so-called “alternative” or “complementary” medicines to cure their by prestigious Yale University published in JAMA Oncology . At issue: the abandonment in part or in full of the treatment known as “conventional” and proven, such as chemotherapy. More and more followers of so-called “soft” or “alternative” medicines 40% of French people use so-called ” alternative ” medicines, . A proportion that ” increases in people with serious or chronic illness “. A craze confirmed by the 2017 Barometer, according to which 4 million searches were recorded in 2016 for alternative medicines, a 50% increase since 2015. ” There is really no evidence supporting people’s beliefs. according to which complementary medicine may improve survival, “said Dr. Skyler Johnson, radiation oncologist at the University of Yale in the United States and co-author of the study. ” Some health professionals, including ourselves, thought that when a patient wants to try alternative medicine instead of conventional cancer treatment, we could convince them to do both, ” says Johnson. ” It seemed like a good compromise, ” he added, but they were not sure it would work, “which is why we felt it was important to do this study .” Very little data indeed existed on the adherence (the fact of scrupulously following the medical prescription) to the conventional treatments among the followers of the alternative medicines. A team of Yale researchers looked at data from nearly 2 million patients registered in the National Cancer Database in the United States. They then selected all the patients whose records indicated that they had opted for complementary treatment with at least one additional conventional cancer treatment such as surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. They selected 258 patients receiving alternative medicine (more women, younger, higher education and social level) who were examined, as well as 1,032 patients receiving conventional therapies with similar characteristics in terms of nature and stage. cancer and age. All had lung, breast, prostate or colorectal cancer, that is, cancers treatable by conventional methods. In the study, a drug is considered “alternative” if it is ” an unproven cancer treatment administered by non-medical personnel, ” ranging from a complex blend of herbs to Chinese medicine. or a vitamin supplement. Risk of death 2 times higher among alternative medicine practitioners The results are very significant. Patients under alternative medicine refused more often surgery (at 7% against 0.1%), chemotherapy (at 34% against 3.2%) or even radiotherapy (at 53% against 2.3%) than the others. ill. In the end, the use of alternative medicines was associated with a decrease in the chances of survival within 5 years, which was 82% against 87% with conventional therapies. More impressively, the risk of death was twice as high among users of alternative therapies compared to conventional therapies. This difference in risk disappears when we take into account the delay before treatment by conventional treatment or refusal, sign that these two factors are in question. The study, however, is not devoid of bias, starting with its retrospective nature: it is not based on a protocol specifically established to study these criteria, but on data analyzed afterwards . In addition, the use or not of alternative therapies is based on declarative, and some patients may not tell their doctor that they used it. Finally, the very definition of alternative therapies chosen in this study is very broad, and the patients few. The importance of not considering alternative medicine as … an alternative The researchers found that the risk of death was higher in people who thought they could use complementary therapies to replace part of the treatment recommended by their doctor. ” It is important that patients who are considering complementary therapies do not consider them an alternative to conventional therapies, which they have shown in clinical trials to make a real difference to survival, ” Martin Ledwick said in a statement. Cancer Research UK, a UK research institute against cancer. ” Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about the role of alternative medicine, and although it can be used to support patients suffering from the adverse effects of cancer treatment, it seems that they are marketed or considered as effective treatments against cancer, “says Dr. Johnson. Dr. Cary Gross, co-author of the study, said, “sources of misinformation must be treated, so that patients are not misled about the goods, ” .

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