Complimentary and Alternative Medicine use could hamper cancer treatment
The effectiveness of cancer drugs may be jeopardised by the rising use of complementary and alternative medicines, experts claim.
More than 80% of cancer patients are now thought to use complementary and alternative medicines, and almost 60% of these to do so without their doctor's knowledge, according to Professor Stephen Clarke of the University of Sydney.
He raised concern over the figures, noting that some complementary and alternative medicines had "significant risks of adverse drug interactions", which could lead to toxicity or cause conventional treatments to fail.
"In many cases we just don't know if there is an interaction," Professor Clarke said.
His concerns are aired in a literature review, co-authored with pharmacist Professor Andrew McLachlan, published online today in Cancer Forum.
The review took in several Australian papers, including a recent study reporting that 65% of cancer patients used at least one form of complementary and alternative medicines.
Nutritional supplements were the most popular option, used by 47% of survey respondents, while 20% reported using "special diet and foods" and 12% Chinese herbal medicines.
The study did not report on whether patients had actually told their doctors about their complementary and alternative medicines use, but almost all agreed that doctors should be informed about CAMs and prepared to offer advice to cancer patients.
There was, however, a 50-50 split among survey respondents as to whether they felt that doctors disapproved of their patients using complementary and alternative medicines.
A 2008 Australian study, meanwhile, reported even higher rates of complementary and alternative medicines use among women with breast cancer, 87.5% of whom said they used complementary and alternative medicines - most commonly vitamin supplements, support groups, massage and meditation.
Cancer Forum 2011; 35
Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology 2010; 6:
The Breast 2008; 17:387-94
My comment on this article:
My experience is that many specialist Drs are ready to communicate with the CAM practitioner, that is willing and able to report, to produce documentation on all the details of the prescription being used.
I personally think that is useful to provide the busy oncologist with relevant scientific data as to why the prescribed regimen is being used.
The modern Naturopath has the training that allows her/him to support the cancer patient in the different stages of the orthodox medical treatment by supporting the drug therapy when necessary; in fact the effect of the drug can be enhanced using natural medicine, and withdrawing some supplements in other stages of the chemo/radio therapy regimen.
The sad malaise that the cancer patient feels during treatment can be greatly alleviated with the appropriate regimen of Natural Medicine.
The body recovers quicker from the destructive drug therapy that is used to kill the cancer cells when supported appropriately with superior nutrition and antioxidant supplementation.
The most effective type of therapy for Cancer is Preventative Medicine.There is abundant information on all the things that we can do to prevent many forms of cancer:
1. Don’t smoke
2. Don’t drink in excess
4. Control your weight
5. Consume enough fibre in your diet
6. Colourful fruits and vegetables are vital
7. Relaxation and appropriate sleep are important