Alternative Therapies: Knowledge Is Power, but Consider the Source

 

Alternative Therapies: Knowledge Is Power, but Consider the Source

By Barrie R. Cassileth

Barrie R. Cassileth, MS, PhD

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Table 1. This an example of what a figure would look like.

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– John Smith, MD

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The market in unproven alternative and alleged untested complementary treatments is at eat 50 billion dollars. You can label anything not have to attest to purity, not doing any peer reviewed clinical trials, or even really know what is being given to the patient, while the FDA hands are legally tied , You can call your product  nutraceuticals and never says it cures or that it is safe and effective for a specific disease- Those words bring governmental forces to bear. Why does the industry exist- MONEY is by far he hugest reason, no laboratory science has been done to analyze what if any active ingredients are foreseen and if so – active., Studies have shown they can be lethal, especially when combined with conventional drugs or worse, when stopping conventional drugs and only using this Uncle Joes Kickapoo joy juice.  Anxiety, fear of real proven therapy drives upwards of 40% of patients to at least look around and listen The Drs  best weapon is my book  which devotes a very far balanced  and thoughtful  discussion of the world of Complementary and Alternative medicine. The NIH has an entre division dedicated to their claims and designing studies of the more promising to see if have another great drug like the Taxanes and Adriamycin and the vinca alkyloids and other sources like it , Knowledge is crucial. People can be harmed and die as a result of misguided providers who either combine them with conventional drugs unwittingly ;no, that- is right THEY DO NOT KNOW AS THERE IS NO STUDY or analysis of the true if any active ingredients or other agents in the bottle- giving their patients theses potions, Laetrile killed a few score due to cyanided present in the peach pit. There are maay other examples. Listen well A CoNCUSION IS NOT THE PLACE YOU LAND AT WHEN YOU DECDE TO STOP THINKING  and  ANECDOTES IS NOT SPELLED ANTIDOTE  and finally YOU CAN LEAD A PATIENT TO INTELLIGENCE BUT CANNOT MAKE THEM THINK. These are frightened SUFFERRING SOULS reaching ouT for anything,

The case of the imminently terminal patient is different. It may Be their right of autonomy that facilitates their demands, or simply, what does it matter if something goes wrong ass long as the family and patient in writing hold harmless all physicians and support staff who always give their best care not matter what

I urge people , do not fall into the cult of ignorance and do not hold vigorously, almost as a religion that you do not know all the facts about, especially when such resources are available  unbiased and free. Learn how aggressive lab researchers are- the Canadians who are very close to beginning  of analysis of  vegetable product that shows strong -in the lab dish-killing power against Leukemia’s and the European and Chinese workers who are at about the point of identifying a single aspect of soy that seems , again in the laboratory, to kill a wide array of cancer cells, These scholars will do it right. They will know EXATLY what they giving and EXACTLY ( with every lab tool we have what the substance is ,its size it atomic formula ,, not just molecular shape and will trace how it cause  cells to die or at least retreat. These techniques are nearly standardized and the better computers and technology the belter we can isolate the GENES of the host organism that code for that substance and only that substance, It is brilliant, beautiful and heady work. Yes, I wrote a lot  because the availability of these substances is an anathema and by far eclipses the science, if even behind them and the belief that for some God forsaken reason there is some conspiracy to hold the little guy down . Please, get real, They should be taxed out the wazoo and never allowed on market without proving at least EXACTY what is in them AND  that they have got be proven scientifically in a defensible manner by peers to do anything positive at all  or at least NOT be harmful based on published peer reviewed – NOT their PEERS- wolf guarding the henhouse comes to mind-I could go on and do in the book

People deperatelywant a cure for all cancers at once- so far that is not very imaginable , although hucksters claim it is. Ask them to provide statistically significant data from clinically controlled double blind and cross over ( read the boo) trials that were then reproduced in other settings . Cancer is an anxiety producing malady of the greatest order  and it is understandable how patients may lean ( about 40%) of the time  into the cornucopia cauldron of ca ca  these knowing or witless hucksters are promising. It is understandable  that our patients want hope and we are there  to be informed regarding Complementary and Alternative medicine to avoid toxicity of the heart, mind ,spirit and soul, It is our job from the  moment one delivers that cancer is the answer,  just as the opening video on the web site suggest

There also those remedies which are lifelong habits and frankly you do not see any harm when they are treated with proven conventional therapy- That is fine but not at all common. l The NCI and NIH and Amer Can Society have superb sites  on thse potions and notions

Do note that meditation and prayer still seems to make the course of the disease in such better seem to go better  There is slowly being produced PET scan and other studies showing changes  in the brain with prayer and with exercise as well. Personally I think it is because we are hard wired as imperfect being to seek the love and forgiveness of what many call their Father m their God and , assisted by the holy spirit I am in that camp Other major religions that are fundamentally truly non violent can do the same thing. One gains a greater sense of purpose and  protection when faith is in their arsenal, Why stress that this is so much crap as case numbers rise- you must answer the  question  yourself. Desperate patients will pay ridiculous sums for totally non active ingredients, and at least certainly not ingredients that have  passed the considerable rigors of laboratory analysis to see what is there,  how is it active if at all and study its toxicities. However, even if they state on the bottle that it is pure- pure of what? proven when by who how?. Best advice, stay away and let the experts do the studies and THEY DO THEM   DR KEVIN RYAN

The use of dietary supplements and other complementary and “alternative” therapies by patients with cancer has increased significantly over the past 20 years despite insufficient evidence of safety and effectiveness. Finding reliable sources of information about complementary therapies can be daunting. Patients typically rely on family, friends, and the Internet, often receiving misleading information.

The ASCO Post’s Integrative Oncology series is intended to facilitate the availability of evidence-based information on integrative and complementary therapies commonly used by patients with cancer. With this installment, we present an overview of alternative treatments that your patients may be using.

Compiled by Barrie R. Cassileth, MS, PhD, and Jyothirmai Gubili, MS, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The free About Herbs website is managed by K. Simon Yeung, PharmD, MBA, LAc, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

An enormous amount of information about integrative medicine can be found in printed sources and online. But, a word of caution—some of this information is high quality and scientifically validated, and some is not. Some is downright ugly, as there are many scam artists promoting bogus remedies and cures.

At present, a simple Google search for “alternative cancer” produces over 65 million hits. Two examples of sites that rank highly in that search and should be avoided—CancerTutor.com and Alternative-Cancer.net—are representative examples of the numerous sites that provide and/or sell “advice” on a range of therapies purported to cure cancer without mainstream treatment.

On the other hand, there are useful sites that debunk false information, such as the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer and Alternative Medicine site (http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam) and QuackWatch.org, and others that provide good information on the complementary treatments, their risks, and their benefits.

Scam Alert: Disproved Alternative Therapies

The problem of quackery has been recorded since the 17th century. Some quacks are true charlatans with purely financial motives, while others are believers in what they preach. Both, however, promote unproven or disproved alternative therapies as cures for disease. And unfortunately there is no shortage of patients willing to embark on these questionable and often very expensive treatment plans. The truth is that unproven approaches are dangerous. Even when the therapy itself does not cause harm, people too often choose to shun conventional treatment entirely and replace it with an alternative treatment that does nothing to diminish their disease.

Public education can help minimize this problem, along with knowledgeable doctors who are familiar enough with alternative approaches to successfully guide patients away from them. Several of the alternative approaches promoted to cancer patients that lack evidence to support their usage are discussed herein.

Caution: All treatments listed here should be avoided.

Electrical Devices

These are devices used to neutralize unhealthy energy of cancer cells; this may also be referred to as bioresonance therapy. The concept is based on a belief that diseased tissues emit “electromagnetic oscillations” that are distinct from those of healthy cells. Devices promise to diagnose and treat cancer and other diseases with the use of electromagnetic fields and currents. Such a claim is unsupported by science.

Recommended: NO

Energy Therapies

“Therapeutic touch” and application of electromagnetic energy are treatments applied in the belief that energy fields exist around the body and that those fields can be manipulated to treat disease and restore health. Neither the existence of such energy fields nor the ability to manipulate them for greater health is supported by scientific evidence.

Recommended: NO

Entelev

A liquid formulation, also called CanCell, Cantron, Protocel, and others, entelev is a brown liquid composed of several chemical compounds. It was created in 1936 by chemist James Sheridan. Over the years, it has been touted to treat a variety of chronic diseases in addition to cancer, including HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease. Animal studies have shown no evidence of anticancer activity, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made it illegal to distribute entelev across state lines in 1989.

Recommended: NO

Essiac

Essiac is an herbal product that is available in a tea, pill, or liquid. It is also called Flor-Essence. This herb was originally popularized in the 1920s by a Canadian nurse named Rene Caisse. (In fact, the herb got its name from a reverse spelling of her name.) It started as a blend of four herbs, but other herbs have been added over the intervening years. While it is readily available online and in health food stores, there is lack of data on its safety and efficacy. No clinical evidence supports its use.

Recommended: NO

Healers

Healers will promote “Touch,” which is also called biofield therapy, healing touch, and energy therapy. Therapeutic touch is practiced by passing hands above a patient’s body to sweep away blockages in the patient’s energy. Neither the existence of such energy fields nor the ability to manipulate them for greater health is supported by scientific evidence.

Recommended: NO

Homeopathic Medicine

A liquid formulation, the practice of homeopathy was begun in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann. This is based on the theory that “like cures like.” A substance that causes disease in a person can be used diluted to cure the same disease. Homeopathy has been the object of many clinical studies. At best, the homeopathic “medicines” had no better results than placebos, and at worst, homeopathy can be actively harmful.

Recommended: NO

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments

In hyperbaric oxygen treatments, the patient is placed in an oxygen-rich chamber. Although hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, and some types of burns, no scientific evidence supports its use in treating cancer.

Recommended: NO (has medical uses but not in cancer treatment)

Laetrile

Laetrile is available in oral or intravenous formulations and is also called amygdalin and vitamin B17. Years of study found no anticancer activity.

Recommended: NO

Mind-Body Techniques

Meditation or biofeedback is based on the theory that patients can harness the power of their mind to heal their physical ills. Techniques, such as meditation and biofeedback have been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation, and they can be used as effective complementary therapies. However, claims that stress and other emotional issues can cause diseases such as cancer and that correcting those issues alone can effectively treat those diseases have no support in scientific evidence.

Recommended: NO (can be used as complementary therapy with traditional treatment).

Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy is available in pills or via intravenous oxygen, oral and intravenous hydrogen peroxide, and infusion of ozone-treated blood. There is no scientific evidence to support a tumor’s need for an oxygen-poor environment, that oxygen is absorbed during digestion, or that any form of oxygen therapy has any efficacy. Even more concerning, serious adverse effects have been reported.

Recommended: NO

Prayer

Although prayer may be helpful when used in conjunction with appropriate mainstream treatment, some patients elect to forgo care in the hope that prayer alone will heal them. A recent research review found that, although certain individual studies suggest some benefit from intercessory prayer, there is no clear evidence that it has any impact on clinical outcomes. Prayer may be useful, but not as an alternative to mainstream cancer treatment.

Recommended: Not as an alternative treatment (can be used as complementary therapy with traditional treatment).

Shark Cartilage

Shark cartilage is available in powder and liquid formulations. In the 1950s, surgeon John Prudden began testing the use of animal cartilage. It is purported to reduce the size of tumors by preventing blood vessel growth to the tumor. A few early animal studies supported an antitumor effect, but results from clinical studies since then have not been promising.

Recommended: NO ■

Adapted with permission from: Cassileth B: Survivorship: Living Well During and After Cancer. Spry Publishing, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Copyright 2014 by Barrie Cassileth, PhD. Available at Amazon and other booksellers.

GUEST EDITOR

Integrative Oncology is guest edited by Barrie R. Cassileth, MS, PhD, Chief of the Integrative Medicine Service and Laurance S. Rockefeller Chair in Integrative Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

The Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center developed and maintains a free website—About Herbs (www.mskcc.org/aboutherbs)—that provides objective and unbiased information about herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements, and unproved anticancer treatments. Each of the close to 300 and growing number of entries offers health-care professional and patient versions, and entries are regularly updated with the latest research findings

ure whatever nd let;s says it is, what othe oue whatevers are in ther-routinely thereis noeve just one substance and evryon clkes the caims and allure of a an easy quick fix pill. Look to try andfind true oer reveuwed, not pal review mutltiinstitutinal studies with aoririateblinding  andus of palcebo tdefine any efficacy aboe th oalcebi effect. Akmost always you will NEVER see it. HOWEVER, YES it is true tat some of our drugs come from the plans morso thante animl kingdom, These are rigorously studiedtorendertheatve molecule and purity ad then subjected to verysmartoicity tests and maymakeit tanimals . If the toxicityis low , t drug nteaction issuesis not seen,then MAYBE the use of dietary supplements and other complementary and “alternative” therapies by patients with cancerwhich  has increased significantly over the past 20 years despite insufficient evidence of safety and effectiveness might find itsslef andexception like the Taxanes, the vinva alkaloids and others.

 Finding reliable sources of information about complementary therapies can be daunting. Patients typically rely on family, friends, and the Internet, often receiving misleading information.

The ASCO Post’s Integrative Oncology series is intended to facilitate the availability of evidence-based information on integrative and complementary therapies commonly used by patients with cancer. With this installment, we present an overview of alternative treatments that your patients may be using.

Compiled by Barrie R. Cassileth, MS, PhD, and Jyothirmai Gubili, MS, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The free About Herbs website is managed by K. Simon Yeung, PharmD, MBA, LAc, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

An enormous amount of information about integrative medicine can be found in printed sources and online. But, a word of caution—some of this information is high quality and scientifically validated, and some is not. Some is downright ugly, as there are many scam artists promoting bogus remedies and cures.

At present, a simple Google search for “alternative cancer” produces over 65 million hits. Two examples of sites that rank highly in that search and should be avoided—CancerTutor.com and Alternative-Cancer.net—are representative examples of the numerous sites that provide and/or sell “advice” on a range of therapies purported to cure cancer without mainstream treatment.

On the other hand, there are useful sites that debunk false information, such as the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer and Alternative Medicine site (http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam) and QuackWatch.org, and others that provide good information on the complementary treatments, their risks, and their benefits.

Scam Alert: Disproved Alternative Therapies

The problem of quackery has been recorded since the 17th century. Some quacks are true charlatans with purely financial motives, while others are believers in what they preach. Both, however, promote unproven or disproved alternative therapies as cures for disease. And unfortunately there is no shortage of patients willing to embark on these questionable and often very expensive treatment plans. The truth is that unproven approaches are dangerous. Even when the therapy itself does not cause harm, people too often choose to shun conventional treatment entirely and replace it with an alternative treatment that does nothing to diminish their disease.

Public education can help minimize this problem, along with knowledgeable doctors who are familiar enough with alternative approaches to successfully guide patients away from them. Several of the alternative approaches promoted to cancer patients that lack evidence to support their usage are discussed herein.

Caution: All treatments listed here should be avoided.

Electrical Devices

These are devices used to neutralize unhealthy energy of cancer cells; this may also be referred to as bioresonance therapy. The concept is based on a belief that diseased tissues emit “electromagnetic oscillations” that are distinct from those of healthy cells. Devices promise to diagnose and treat cancer and other diseases with the use of electromagnetic fields and currents. Such a claim is unsupported by science.

Recommended: NO

Energy Therapies

“Therapeutic touch” and application of electromagnetic energy are treatments applied in the belief that energy fields exist around the body and that those fields can be manipulated to treat disease and restore health. Neither the existence of such energy fields nor the ability to manipulate them for greater health is supported by scientific evidence.

Recommended: NO

Entelev

A liquid formulation, also called CanCell, Cantron, Protocel, and others, entelev is a brown liquid composed of several chemical compounds. It was created in 1936 by chemist James Sheridan. Over the years, it has been touted to treat a variety of chronic diseases in addition to cancer, including HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease. Animal studies have shown no evidence of anticancer activity, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration made it illegal to distribute entelev across state lines in 1989.

Recommended: NO

Essiac

Essiac is an herbal product that is available in a tea, pill, or liquid. It is also called Flor-Essence. This herb was originally popularized in the 1920s by a Canadian nurse named Rene Caisse. (In fact, the herb got its name from a reverse spelling of her name.) It started as a blend of four herbs, but other herbs have been added over the intervening years. While it is readily available online and in health food stores, there is lack of data on its safety and efficacy. No clinical evidence supports its use.

Recommended: NO

Healers

Healers will promote “Touch,” which is also called biofield therapy, healing touch, and energy therapy. Therapeutic touch is practiced by passing hands above a patient’s body to sweep away blockages in the patient’s energy. Neither the existence of such energy fields nor the ability to manipulate them for greater health is supported by scientific evidence.

Recommended: NO

Homeopathic Medicine

A liquid formulation, the practice of homeopathy was begun in 1796 by Samuel Hahnemann. This is based on the theory that “like cures like.” A substance that causes disease in a person can be used diluted to cure the same disease. Homeopathy has been the object of many clinical studies. At best, the homeopathic “medicines” had no better results than placebos, and at worst, homeopathy can be actively harmful.

Recommended: NO

Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments

In hyperbaric oxygen treatments, the patient is placed in an oxygen-rich chamber. Although hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat decompression sickness, carbon monoxide poisoning, and some types of burns, no scientific evidence supports its use in treating cancer.

Recommended: NO (has medical uses but not in cancer treatment)

Laetrile

Laetrile is available in oral or intravenous formulations and is also called amygdalin and vitamin B17. Years of study found no anticancer activity.

Recommended: NO

Mind-Body Techniques

Meditation or biofeedback is based on the theory that patients can harness the power of their mind to heal their physical ills. Techniques, such as meditation and biofeedback have been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation, and they can be used as effective complementary therapies. However, claims that stress and other emotional issues can cause diseases such as cancer and that correcting those issues alone can effectively treat those diseases have no support in scientific evidence.

Recommended: NO (can be used as complementary therapy with traditional treatment).

Oxygen Therapy

Oxygen therapy is available in pills or via intravenous oxygen, oral and intravenous hydrogen peroxide, and infusion of ozone-treated blood. There is no scientific evidence to support a tumor’s need for an oxygen-poor environment, that oxygen is absorbed during digestion, or that any form of oxygen therapy has any efficacy. Even more concerning, serious adverse effects have been reported.

Recommended: NO

Prayer

Although prayer may be helpful when used in conjunction with appropriate mainstream treatment, some patients elect to forgo care in the hope that prayer alone will heal them. A recent research review found that, although certain individual studies suggest some benefit from intercessory prayer, there is no clear evidence that it has any impact on clinical outcomes. Prayer may be useful, but not as an alternative to mainstream cancer treatment.

Recommended: Not as an alternative treatment (can be used as complementary therapy with traditional treatment).

Shark Cartilage

Shark cartilage is available in powder and liquid formulations. In the 1950s, surgeon John Prudden began testing the use of animal cartilage. It is purported to reduce the size of tumors by preventing blood vessel growth to the tumor. A few early animal studies supported an antitumor effect, but results from clinical studies since then have not been promising.

Recommended: NO ■

Adapted with permission from: Cassileth B: Survivorship: Living Well During and After Cancer. Spry Publishing, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Copyright 2014 by Barrie Cassileth, PhD. Available at Amazon and other booksellers.

GUEST EDITOR

Integrative Oncology is guest edited by Barrie R. Cassileth, MS, PhD, Chief of the Integrative Medicine Service and Laurance S. Rockefeller Chair in Integrative Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

The Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center developed and maintains a free website—About Herbs (www.mskcc.org/aboutherbs)—that provides objective and unbiased information about herbs, vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements, and unproved anticancer treatments. Each of the close to 300 and growing number of entries offers health-care professional and patient versions, and entries are regularly updated with the latest research findings

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