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LINK Cancer patients who use homeopathy and alternative remedies as part of treatment twice as likely to die from disease, study finds | The Independent

remember this is what happened to Steve Jobs. He had all the money to buy the best alternative medical treatments, refusing conventional medicine, yet died from a a cancer with a relatively high cure rate

People who use homeopathy, herbal remedies and other alternative therapies as part of their cancer treatment are, on average, twice as likely to die from the disease as those who use conventional treatment only, a study has shown.

This is because cancer patients using complementary therapies were much more likely to refuse some or all recommended treatment, resulting in a much poorer prognosis, Yale University researchers found.

Complementary medicine covers a wide range of trends and traditions of scientifically unproven value as cancer treatments. These include Chinese herbal medicine and homeopathy, dietary supplements, cleanse diets, yoga, and massage.

The side effects of cancer treatment can be harrowing, including nausea, joint pain, fatigue and infertility, and all patients face a decision about balancing quality of life with the best chances of survival.

Studies have shown some alternative therapies, including massage and acupuncture, can improve quality of life and wellbeing while patients are coping with conventional treatment side effects, and also help patients relax or feel in control. Between 48 and 88 per cent of patients are thought to use complementary therapy as an element of their treatment.

However studies have also suggested many patients believe such alternative treatments will also help their survival prospects.

"Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion about the role of complementary therapies,” said Dr Skyler Johnson, lead author of the new study, published on Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Oncology.

"Although they may be used to support patients experiencing symptoms from cancer treatment, it looks as though they are either being marketed, or understood to be effective [as] cancer treatments.”

These side-effects and mistrust of major pharmaceutical companies can make the benefits of alternative therapies seem like a credible option for some patients.


By Lukian8
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Steve Jobs is one of the most famous examples of a smart person being suckered into magical thinking. I've known two others personally, local friends who refused their doctor's advice and died earlier than needed. I can't help but point out that skepticism of junk science like homeopathy and astrology is no different than skepticism about the existence of god.

Except that living longer with cancer is not necessarily a good thing.

@Nor48 Sure, but at least the patient can make their own decision. This is why legalizing assisted suicide is so important. With BS "cures" people are lied to and fleeced of their money, and then they die.


Well, when drinking water is exactly the same as homeopathic remedies... i'm not surprised.

The simplest way explain this is: if homeopathy and alternative medicine worked... they would be called... medicine.

Drazezard Level 3 Dec 23, 2018

All I could think of while reading this article was “in other news, water is wet!”


I would never do chemo. No way. No how. I have seen chemo take someone's life quicker then if they didn't do anything at all. Chemo is nothing but mustard gas, a chemical. I also seen people survive chemo and ended up changing their body, permanently.
Usually when someone does chemo and survives, the cancer comes back within 5 yrs and the person dies.

I am a firm believer that the body's PH level needs to be at 7.4 to prevent cancer. So that means all fruits and veggies for a diet. Also, sugar is a major cancer causing to consume.

I don't know where to begin...
Fruit have a pH ranging from 2 to 6... how does that make your body go up to 7.4?
You are correct, normal blood pH is between 7.35 and 7.45 regardless of what you eat. Now is you breath very quickly in an out for 1 or 2 minutes you will cause blood acidosis so don't do that.

You are basing all your whole health on this 100 year old claim: Then, in the early 1900s, the Nobel-prize winning Dr. Otto Warburg, suggested that cancer cells “live in hypoxic, very low oxygen, and acidic conditions and derive energy from sugars by fermenting them the way yeast does.[2,3] From this, he theorized that these low-oxygen and highly-acidic conditions caused cancer.

That was before science even knew what DNA was... Good luck to you.

Ever grow cancer and healthy cells in a dish? I have, and they both live in hypoxic state because oxygen is not free flowing in your body but transported. Oh and alkali will kill them both the same way. The term Lactic acid is wrong when talking about the compound in the body, it should be lactate (the lactic acid salt) because your blood is buffered.

Here is my anecdotal cancer story: Had an uncle who survived 5 cancers because of medical treatment. He died at the age of 84 from pneumonia... if only Dr. Warburg had found a way to prevent pneumonia in the elderly...

@Lukian Thank you.

@RavenCT that was a little ranty.... YW


I find it terribly depressing that they wasted time and money to determine what should be obvious.

JimG Level 8 Dec 2, 2018

if they, you mean scientists, these studies are often done for public policy. Fundamentally you cannot recognize a phenomenon without measuring it and you can't change something that was not measured.

@Lukian I know, and I would not blame scientists for scientific study. My thought was that there weren't enough credible results to warrant studying alternatives to medicine ( a term I find more accurate than "alternative medicine." )

@JimG got it!


Comfort measures versus cure. Would be good if the language used to present alternatives pointed that out.

RavenCT Level 9 Dec 2, 2018

If ‘alternative medicine’ worked it would be called ‘’medicine’

Hey, that sounds like Tim Minchin.


I have an aunt who developed an idiopathic muscle disease (apparently there is no name for it because it is so rare and therefore not understood). Some years ago she read on the Internet that eating only cucumbers for a month would cure her. She tried this and almost died.
I've taken care of two aging parents over the last 10 years, and I have no doubt that SOME "alternative" therapies have SOME effect, but once that effect is identified, I'm not sure that counts as alternative anymore. It's just a therapy.
I had a coworker give me a giant book of alternative medicine recipes when I told her my mother had Parkinson's. Looking at the book, I couldn't make any useful sense out of it...much like the Bible when I was a kid. The only think that HAS helped is relentlessly reading everything available while applying critical thinking at the highest level I am capable. I've certainly spend thousands of hours reading articles, scientific papers, caregiver forums, drug interaction websites (both the public and professional tabs, as you can glean extra info from the pro tabs), and news trackers for the US, UK, and Australia. I've saved her life several times over, and now have a better idea of what we DON'T know about Parkinson's.


Twice is likely means that there is only half as much success. If you factor in Chemo sucks to some people that would still be worth it.


My friend & her partner decided to go that route, with her death occuring. Quote: "we don't want to experience the horror of conventional therapy"
Me, find a lump of any size, anywhere, i want 10 feet of surrounding tissue out & heavy radiation too, tomorrow!

I laugh even if your statement was actually serious

@Lukian i can find humor (and in fact have had to!) In anything...this however is more just factual.


It's also sad that people who believe in alternative medicine generally cannot be convinced otherwise. I'm commenting about people I know.

I'm currently recovering from cancer surgery. No way would I rely on any voodoo magic treatments.

Live long and healthy.


Been there done that if you ever need to talk.


The absolute hardest part of my job is watching patients choose alternative medicine to 'treat' their cancer while declining evidence based interventions. We have no choice but to respect their decision, but we also know all too well it's a death sentence. The lack of accountability for those who push such "treatments" pisses me off to no end.

Amzungu2 Level 7 Dec 1, 2018

Yes. So much yes.


Out of curiosity, do you know what alternative treatments Jobs used?

I could not find the original article I read but here is an another:

@Lukian Thanks for the link!

"In spite of pleas from family and friends, he tried to cure himself through acupuncture sessions, drinking special fruit juices, visiting "spiritualists" and using other treatments he found on the internet."

He really thought acupuncture and spiritualists would get rid of cancer? I would think special fruit juices would have a preventative factor, but not have a factor in regression or elimination.

I really would like to see a study done on cannabis oil, but I doubt they ever do a study.

@Piece2YourPuzzle don't doubt, it's legal in Canada. i'll bet actual government studies will be made now.

@Lukian I hope so. It can be either a breakthrough or a chance once and for all to put an end to the speculation or anecdotal accounts.


Huzzah for science based medicine!

The Australian government eliminated the insurance subsidies for 17 alternative health practices due to a lack of evidence for efficacy back in June, 2018. A win for medicine and Australian taxpayers.

Battling beliefs is tricky. It seems silly enough; oils, powders and pills don't usually seem to hurt anyone, apart from drain their pocketbooks. I figure it's a tax on people who didn't pay attention in chemistry class. But there is a greater danger if people put too much stock in it-people shouldn't have to die from making a stupid decision, (Example: Steve Jobs believing sunflower seeds would beat his cancer) but it does happen.

Rejecting science has it's price.

actually there is a rise of liver failure due to an increase of alternative medicine like herbs and plant extracts and even excessive consumption of vitamins. Liver failure is usually one side effect heavily monitored during clinical trials to approve medicines.


If I found out I had a form of cancer that was treatable by conventional methods, then that is exactly what I'd be doing.
I don't believe in "alternative treatments". Especially after seeing the above.

I've long thought most of that stuff was bullshit anyway.

KKGator Level 9 Dec 1, 2018

So sad.


Cannabis oil offers the best option. Real cannabis oil, not CBD derivatives. Google Run From The Cure If you are interested.

I cannot comprehend how cannabis can cure every single cancer and why ppl think it can. I agree that it can alleviate symptoms and help with the pain and depression but a cure all, no way.


@Biptu I can agree on the inflammation angle. You know that free radicals are created by simple breathing and also there is a thing about consuming too much antioxidants.

@Lukian Fentanyl Pops are Fantastic for Cancer Pain. Weed is not.

Trust me on that one.

Weed is helpful with nausea from Chemo or Radiation.

CBD might bear some study as to helping in prevention. (And they really think that smoking weed can't cause Cancer which makes me think it might have some interesting properties - but who knows until they actually study all the forms right?). Could be as effective as dirt.

@RavenCT I hear ya and agree. I'm very skeptical of CBD or cannabis having any direct prevention or affect on (any) cancer hence why studies are crucial to determine that. Unfortunately, not other country, except Canada now, can make a cannabis study legally until now. We'll see. (hat off to you as a survivor)

@Lukian Spain and Israel have been studying the effects of cannabis on cancer for a long time.the first documented experiment showing cannabis killing cancer cells in a Petrie dish was in 1974. This is not News.

@Wangobango3 many compounds kill cancer cells in a petri dish. I was referring to well structured human clinical trials which is lacking.

This is the most recent article on this subject and many holes need study.
Cannabis for cancer - illusion or the tip of an iceberg: a review of the evidence for the use of Cannabis and synthetic cannabinoids in oncology.

A flowering plant of variegated ingredients and psychoactive qualities, Cannabis has long been used for medicinal and recreational purposes. Regulatory approvals have been gained across a broad range of palliative and therapeutic indications, and in some cases, included in standard treatment guidelines. Areas covered: The use of Cannabis and cannabinoid-based-medicines in oncology is summarized in this article. Cannabinoids were classified according to natural and synthetic subtypes and their mechanisms of action expounded. The variability of available products is discussed in the clinical context and data regarding chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, cancer-related pain, anorexia, insomnia and anxiety are presented. Moreover, immunological and antineoplastic effects in preclinical and clinical trials are addressed. Concepts such as synergism or opposition with conventional treatment modalities, sequence of administration and dosage, molecular cross-talk and malignancy-cannabinoid congruence, are explored. Finally, side-effects, limitations in trial design and legislation barriers are related. Expert opinion: Sufficient evidence supports use of Cannabis for palliative indications in oncology, however, patients should be carefully selected, guided and followed. Promising research suggests potent antineoplastic activity, but more data must be accrued before conclusions can be drawn.

@Lukian yeah, OK. I'm not interested in a debate. Peace Out.

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