Many mistakenly believe alternative therapies can cure cancer

Many mistakenly believe alternative therapies can cure cancer

(HealthDay)—Despite evidence to the contrary, four in 10 Americans believe alternative therapies can cure cancer, a new survey finds.

Research shows that death rates are much higher among who use only alternative therapies than among those who receive standard cancer treatments, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).

The group's second annual National Cancer Opinion Survey also found that many Americans oppose limiting ' access to opioid painkillers (such as OxyContin) and support the use of by cancer patients.

The high cost of cancer also emerged as a major concern among Americans.

"This survey serves as a barometer of the American people's views on important cancer-related issues," said ASCO President Dr. Monica Bertagnolli.

"It's revealed a number of critical areas we urgently need to address—from correcting widespread misinformation about cancer treatments, to ensuring patients have access to the pain medication they need, to alleviating the financial distress both patients and their loved ones experience too frequently," Bertagnolli said in a society news release.

The online survey, conducted in July and August, included almost 4,900 U.S. adults aged 18 and older. About 1,000 have or have had cancer.

The survey found that 39 percent of respondents—including a high number of cancer patients and family caregivers—believe cancer can be cured using just alternative therapies, such as enzyme and oxygen , diet, vitamins and minerals.

According to ASCO Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Schilsky, "There's no question that evidence-based cancer therapy is necessary to effectively treat the disease."

He added: "The vast majority of alternative therapies either haven't been rigorously studied or haven't been found to benefit patients. When patients are making critical decisions about which cancer treatments to undergo, it is always best to follow the evidence from well-designed research studies."

Younger people—between 18 and 53—were more likely to put their faith in , the survey revealed.

A recent study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute underscored the danger of such thinking: The death rate from common cancers for people who receive only alternative medicine treatments is 2.5 times higher than for patients who receive standard treatments, such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and hormone-based therapies.

Other findings from the ASCO :

  • Nearly three-quarters of the respondents said new regulations that make prescription opioids harder to obtain should not apply to cancer patients.
  • Forty percent of cancer patients who have used opioids in the past 12 months to manage pain or other symptoms have had trouble obtaining the medications.
  • More than eight out of 10 respondents support use of medical marijuana by cancer patients. But 48 percent of cancer patients who have used medical marijuana in the past 12 months said they had trouble obtaining it.
  • If diagnosed with cancer, 57 percent said their chief concern would be the financial impact on their families or the cost of treatment. Dying or concerns about cancer-related pain and suffering would be the key worry for a smaller percentage (54 percent each).

"Patients are right to be concerned about the financial impact of a cancer diagnosis on their families. It's clear that high treatment costs are taking a serious toll not only on patients, but also on the people who care for them," Schilsky said.

"If a family member has been diagnosed with cancer, the sole focus should be helping them get well," Schilsky said. "Instead, Americans are worrying about affording treatment, and in many cases, they're making serious personal sacrifices to help pay for their loved ones' care."

Explore further

Many cancer patients skimp on treatment due to cost

More information: The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on cancer treatment.

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Oct 30, 2018
It's always good to look at alternatives for cancer cures early, while the body is still strong.


Chemo is on record as 'curing' cancer 1 time out of 10. ('cure' is a 5 year cancer free time period, so even the definition of 'cure' is fucked)

That's like taking a gun with 10 chambers, filling 9 of them, and then playing Russian roulette with said 9/10ths filled gun. That's chemo.

So try alternatives, first. Weigh options but chemo might be considered last in the treatment list options.

At the same time we remember that cancer is an enormously successfully industry, financially speaking.

the medical industry in the USA is the most expensive in the world, almost by factors, but the health care level of the USA, is 37th in rank?

Yet health costs are 4-5-10x of other countries - with higher rankings?

Is it a profit industry problem?

You bet your bottom dollar that people will try alternatives for cancer treatment in the USA. BIG TIME.

Oct 30, 2018
I have been reading Phyorg for years without commenting. But I signed up just because of this article. The headline is a blatant lie. As someone who deals with those dealing with cancer I KNOW for a fact that there are alt cancer treatments that in fact do work in dealing with cancer. I know doctors whose own family members were successfully treated with alt cancer treatments when the so-called approved methods had been tried without success. These were people whom doctors had said there was NO HOPE left so just prepare to die.

It is important to note that indeed most alt cancer treatments are indeed worthless or even harmful. But believing a study from an organization like American Society of Clinical Oncology who makes their money off of treating cancer in very expensive and usually ineffective ways is like believing a study on smoking from tobacco companies.

Oct 30, 2018
The reason you do not hear about the alt treatments that work is because of the AMA and the FDA here in the USA. Doctors have to go with what these two organizations tell them or they can be stripped of their right to practice medicine or even imprisoned.

Then what is allowed is controlled by those with the money to get their treatments approved by the FDA and AMA. This cost is huge. over $400 million US. So those with inexpensive protocols that actually work can never afford to go that route as the payback will never happen.

One day I hope that these treatments can be made widely available but for now many of those involved must hide in the shadows or risk unjust treatment by the corrupt money hungry organizations who place profits over people. This includes both sides of the political spectrum in DC.

Simply look at drug prices in the USA compared to other countries.

We are being lied to and this study is another attempt at doing that.

Oct 30, 2018
The opening line in the article. "Despite evidence to the contrary, four in 10 Americans believe alternative therapies can cure cancer, a new survey finds."

Some of these people like myself do not believe but in fact KNOW that SOME alt treatments do in fact work. Many people have heard from those who have survived Stage IV terminal cancer and are now cancer free. I know of one woman who is now 11 years cancer free when her doctors had told her she had only a 25% chance of survival if she did all the chemo and radiation treatments they had scheduled for her. Instead she totally ignored her doctors and went with alt treatments and she is doing great today again ELEVEN years later. A big plus is that she didn't have to deal with the horrible side effects of the "approved" treatments.

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