Alternative treatment of cancer

There was a fabulous article in the Style section of The Sunday Times (UK) yesterday about Gemma Bond. She has been following an alternative medical trestment plan after a diagnosis of aggressive uterine and ovarian cancer in 2011. Her website set up by her daughter Laura is an inspiring and informative resource for people.

In the article, there was a comment from Professor Peter Johnson at Cancer Research UK. He made the points that there was little or no evidence for alternative treatments of cancer and that such evidence may well be biased if undertaken by natural supplement companies. He seemed to dismiss any suggestion that doctors themselves or the pharmaceutical companies undertaking research into chemotherapy would be biased. In addition, he described as ‘crazy’ that doctors would withhold evidence for alternative therapies.

Just to say that there is a wealth of evidence about the benefits of diet, supplements, herbal treatment and other treatment modalities in supporting people with cancer. I am posting up information regularly about the benefits of alternative medicine for many conditions. See links on the left.

One comment by Laura Bond in her article is in relation to the lack of interest by the oncologist in what her mother was doing. This reflects my own experience where patients pursue alternative treatments and clearly improve, yet are never asked what they doing.

Regarding evidence (or lack of) for the effectiveness of treatments, clearly Professor Johnson has not read the paper published by Australian oncologists where they state that the benefits of chemotherapy are generally in the region of 2% (that is not a typo, it is two per cent). When any such measured benefit does not take account of other things that people can do – diet, energy exercises such as yoga, tai chi or qi gong, visualisation and meditation – it is not unreasonable or foolish for people to decline chemotherapy treatments.

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