Many Americans hold the misunderstood belief that alternative therapies can cure cancer alone, although such methods have not proven effective…
Many Americans hold the misunderstood belief that alternative therapies can cure cancer alone, although such methods have not proven effective in the treatment of cancer, according to a new study.
The survey, known as the National Cancer Opinion Survey, was released today (October 30th) by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), a leading group of cancer doctors. The survey showed that nearly 40 percent of Americans said they thought cancer could be cured exclusively through alternative therapies such as oxygen therapy or the use of certain diets, vitamins and minerals.
But experts stress that these therapies are not recommended as cancer treatment alone, as there is little evidence to support their benefits, and they can actually be harmful if they are used to replace standard therapies. For example, a 201
7 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that cancer patients who only used alternative medicine were 2.5 times more likely to die for a five-year period than those who used common cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and hormone-based therapies.
“There is no doubt that evidence-based cancer therapy is necessary to effectively treat the disease,” said Dr. Richard Schilsky, ASCO chief physician, in a statement. ASCO ordered the survey conducted by Harris Poll in July and August 2018. [25 Medical Myths That Just Won’t Go Away]
“The vast majority of alternative therapies have either not been carefully studied or have not been shown to benefit patients.” Schilsky said. “When patients make critical decisions about which cancer treatments to undergo, it is always best to follow the evidence from well designed research studies. “
Still, it is important to note that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can play a role in helping cancer patients. Instead of replacing standard therapies, some CAM treatments can be used safely along with standard therapies to help cancer patients check certain symptoms and side effects and improve the quality of life, according to American Cancer Society (ACS). Such treatments include acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, tai chi and yoga. However, ACS agrees that cancer patients who abstain from common cancer treatments and instead use alternative therapies put themselves at a serious risk of injury.
The new survey analyzed information from a national representative sample of 4,887 American adults who were polled on their cancer skills and beliefs. Of these, approximately 1 000 had cancer at the time of the investigation or earlier.
The young in the study probably believed that alternative therapies could cure cancer alone: Among the ages 18-37, 47 percent agreed that “cancer can be cured exclusively through alternative therapies” compared with only 21 percent of adults aged 72 years and older.
Among those who had cancer then or earlier, 22 percent believed that alternative therapies alone could cure cancer; and among the family care of cancer patients, 38 percent believed that alternative therapies alone could cure cancer.
Other results from the survey include the following:
“This survey serves as a barometer of the American people’s views on important cancer-related problems, says Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, president of ASCO, in the statement.” There have been revealed a number of critical areas that we urgently need to deal with – from to correct widespread misinformation about cancer treatments, to ensure that patients have access to analgesics that they need to alleviate the financial disadvantage for both patients and their loved ones.
ASCO launched the National Cancer Survey Survey in 2017. Last year’s survey found that many Americans had misconceptions about cancer risk factors; For example, only 30 percent of Americans knew that drinking alcohol is a risk factor for cancer.
Originally published on Live Science.