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Complementary Medicine For Cancer Can Decrease Survival

(Yale News) July 19, 2018 - People who received complementary therapy for curable cancers were more likely to refuse at least one component of their conventional cancer treatment, and were more likely to die as a result, according to researchers from Yale Cancer Center and the Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy and Effectiveness Research Center (COPPER) at Yale School of Medicine. The findings were reported today online in JAMA Oncology. Use of complementary medicine — medical therapies that fall beyond the scope of scientific medicine — is growing in the United States and often used by patients with cancer.

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H. Jack West, MD (Posted: July 20, 2018)

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Very unfortunate and very believable. Some proponents of complementary medicine note that "complementary" is intended to mean that these treatments are given alongside conventional therapies, rather than instead of them, as "alternative" medicines will be. Nevertheless, this work strongly indicts treatment philosophies that are not grounded in clinical evidence and shows that they clearly subtract more than they add for patients with treatable cancers, who are all too often presume that the "medicine" in complementary medicine is actually effective. That is the greater misnomer here, and it leads to net harm to the people gullible enough to pursue it.

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