Time Magazine: People diagnosed with cancer have a multitude of treatment options, many of which are standard therapies that have been well-studied to improve their chances of surviving their disease or avoiding recurrence.
But people are increasingly also folding in complementary medicine approaches — which include nutrients, herbal remedies and other so-called natural supplements — with their cancer treatment regimes. While these are not nearly as well-studied as conventional therapies like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, many people rely on them because they believe they can improve their chances of surviving their cancer or keeping recurrences at bay.
In a new study published in JAMA Oncology, researchers say that may not be the case. Dr. Skyler Johnson, chief resident in therapeutic radiology at Yale School of Medicine, and his colleagues analyzed data from nearly 1,300 people in the National Cancer Database with four common cancers: breast, prostate, lung or colorectal. 1,032 of those people used only conventional medicine, and 258 used at least one conventional treatment and one or more complementary medicine strategies (which were recorded as “other unproven cancer treatments administered by non-medical personnel”). These included IV, oral and topical therapies made up of vitamins, minerals or herbal supplements, says Johnson.