Information about Alternative and Complementary medicine can be found at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The NCCAM actively encourages research, clinical trials, and published reports about completmentary or alternative treatments.
Alternative medicine is not the same thing as Complementary medicine which is used along with Traditional medicine. Alternative medicine proposes to take the place of Traditional medicine such as chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Alternative choices usually use a 'natural' or 'holistic' approach to healing.
There are several types of Alternative medicines offered. You can usually find information about these types of 'treatments' online, in books, articles, or other media. Their appeal is unquestionable. There are many 'testimonials' from people that claim to have been 'cured'. However, the problem with Alternative medicine is that there is no solid 'body of scientific evidence' to support those claims.
In response to many of the confusing 'testimonials' offered by Alternative medicine proponents Dr Stephen Barrett established Quackwatch. Quackwatch is a non-profit organization dedicated to combating health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct. Patients are urged to investigate both sides of the issue to become as well informed as possible before making a decision.
Listed in this section will be some of the more 'common' or 'well known' Alternative medicines.
There are many types of complementary herbs or natural substances that can be used in the treatment for cancer. Many patients seek out a holistic, wellness, or naturopathic medicine for a more spiritual, naturalistic treatment approach.
There are a few states that license naturopathic practitioners. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians provide a list of doctors for each state.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine During Cancer Treatment: Beyond Innocence is a study done March 2006 and found in the Oncologist journal.
Nowadays, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is popular all over the world. Billions of dollars are spent in this booming business. For several reasons, young, female, educated, and higher socioeconomic class cancer patients, in particular, have shown interest in these agents. Unfortunately, besides direct (and sometimes serious) side effects, several CAM ingredients are capable of interfering with the metabolism of concurrently used drugs, which may render the therapeutic outcome of the subscribed drug unpredictable. In the case of anticancer drugs, with their usually narrow therapeutic window, this may have dramatic consequences and can lead to unacceptable toxicities in some cases or decreased therapeutic activity in others. Therefore, cancer patients should be warned for these possible interactions and be advised to discuss CAM use openly with their treating physician. The general concept that natural products are harmless should thus be changed into a more realistic and responsible attitude. A tightened legislation and regulation (including Internet advertising and sales) could play a crucial role in this awareness process. This should finally enable safe exploration of the potential advantageous aspects of CAM, while living with cancer.
Antineoplastons is a substance isolated from normal human blood and urine that is being tested as a type of treatment for some tumors and AIDS.
Stanislaw Burzynski, M.D., Ph.D., in Houston, Texas has used antineoplastons to treat a varity of cancers in his clinic. He has claimed a high rate of cure, but remains uncooperative with the medical community in verifying this claim.
The National Cancer Institute did conduct one clinical study that ended inconclusively. Currently there are clincial trials being undertaken for carcinoma, breast cancer, and brain tumors by the Burzynski Clinic.
A liquid made using different mixtures of ingredients also called Sheridan’s Formula, Jim’s Juice, Crocinic Acid, JS–114, JS–101, 126–F, and Cantron. No one knows the exact formula but studies identified the following components: Inositol, Nitric acid, Sodium sulfite, Potassium hydroxide, Sulfuric acid, and Catechol. None of the identified substances has been found to be effective against any type of cancer.
More information about Cancell.
Herbal tea mixtures originally developed in Canada and marketed as dietary supplements. People who use essiac or flor-essence claim that it detoxifies the body and helps build the immune system. However, there is no scientific evidence that essiac or flor-essence is effective against cancer.
A chemical compound that contains camphor, a natural substance that comes from the wood and bark of the camphor tree.
No clinical trials or scientific evidence supports the claim that 714-x is effective against cancer. The NCI is currently investigating reports.
Information from the Gerson Institute.
Ads that run for 30 minutes or more with 'experts' that make claims about 'curing' cancer and other diseases. Patients are urged to investigate these unsubstantiated claims thorougly. Information about possible scams in relation to these claims can be found at Infomercial scams.
It's All About Money
1. Many people believe that Lorraine Day, MD cured her own breast cancer through divine intervention. She is willing to share that knowledge with the public through an advertisement on television. She has never allowed an independent investigation be done concerning her condition, thus patients are required to trust her words. Lorraine Day, M.D sells a video, “Cancer Doesn't Scare Me Anymore.” that offers a ten step life style program for about $30.00. Patients should be aware that the video does not give enough information to implement the steps, in order to do that you need to buy "You Can't Improve on God." for another $30.00. Enough said.
2. Twice convicted felon (served for credit card fraud), Kevin Trudeau has successfully sold numerous products to enhance 'memory', 'detox the body', 'reading programs', 'hair farming', you name it and he will sell it in radio and television infomercials. When the FTC tried to shut him down for untruthful advertising he devised a marketing plan to go around it. Trudeau is behind the popular best selling book, 'Natural Cures 'They' Don’t Want You to Know About.” The book has been called a fraud and many have complained about it. Trudeau still appears in infomercials offering the updated version of the book, "More Natural Cures Revealed: Previously Censored Brand Name Products That Cure Disease." For those interested you may check out recent reports from 'Informercial scams' about Trudeau and problems they are having getting refunds: Scams: Natural Cures
Laetrile is the name used for the chemical compound, amygdalin, which is found in the pits fruits (apricots, etc) and raw nuts and in other plants such as lima beans, clover, and sorghum.
It has been proposed that cyanide is the active cancer-killing ingredient in laetrile. There have been some studies conducted, and so far laetrile has showed little anti-tumor activity. Studies continue.
It's been suggested that cancer is really a 'vitamin deficiency' and that laetrile is the missing Vitamin B17 that can cure the cancer. Despite testimonials, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
The Hoxsey herbal treatment is a regiment that uses both an internal 'brown tonic' and external pastes and salves that contain antimony trisulfide, zinc chloride, and blood root, and a yellow powder consisting of arsenic sulfide, sulfur, and talc.
The 'brown tonic' supposedly contains: pokeweed, burdock root, licorice, barberry, buckthorn bark, stillingia root, red clover, prickly ash bark, potassium iodide, and cascara. The mixture and consistency depends upon the type of cancer being treated.
There is no scientific evidence or studies that have been done to support claims that the Hoxsey treatment is effective against cancer. Out of 400 cases studied from patients who had used the Hoxsey treatment, not one Hoxsey cure has been documented.
It should be noted that many of these 'herbs' found in the Hoxsey treatment have been used for years in folk medicine.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering has investigated the Hoxsey Herbal Treatment and urges patients not to use this treatment.
Insulin Potentiation Therapy (IPT)
Insulin Potentiation Therapy - Information about why you should stay away from this treatment.
High Dose Vitamin C and Cancer
Controversial reports that high dose vitamin C can cure cancer.
Recent news reports that vitamin C injected intravenously does seem to help in the fight against cancer. BCC: Vitamin C 'helps to fight cancer'
Information from Quackwatch about Chelation Therapy.
Alternative Medicine in the News
1. Shimoda Atlantic is a 'company' that has been involved with Xenavex, a drug based on the poisonous Oleander plant leaf. Currently Xenavex has only been approved for heart medications. Allegedly Shimoda-Atlantic was establishing Clinical Trials for this 'new drug'. However, it appears to no longer be available. Shimoda-Atlantic and its company officers have been involved in an FBI sting operation that was investigating the company.