A third of cancer patients turn to herbal supplements and meditation – but many don't tell their doctor, study finds
- Of 3,100 cancer patients, 33 percent told University of Texas researchers that they included complementary medicine in their treatment plan
- 29 percent of them said they had not told their doctor
- Experts say there must be a policy that forces doctors to discuss complementary medicine
A third of American cancer patients use complementary or alternative medicine, but many do not tell their doctor, according to a new study.
Of the 3,100 patients, 33 percent told researchers at the University of Texas that they included self-meditation, herbal supplements, or even special diets in their treatment program.
And 29 percent of them said they were keeping it a secret from their doctor – because they didn't want to reveal it or didn't ask their doctor.
Chief author Nina Sanford, MD, said there should be a policy requiring doctors to discuss complementary drugs with cancer patients so that they can better advise and treat them.
Dealing with life-threatening illnesses, it is common for doctors to become somewhat dirty when mentioning a diet or supplements with hardly any research to support it – especially when it comes with over-hyped, false claims that it is the & # 39; cure & # 39; could cure illness
While there is no additional drug that works to cure or treat cancer, some may have other benefits that promote mental health or relieve pain.
But some methods, especially online promoted methods such as & # 39; panacea & # 39 ;, can be very dangerous.
& # 39; Many complementary or alternative therapies are potentially very useful, such as mindfulness or meditation – those are things that we would recommend anyway, & # 39; told Dr. Sanford, assistant professor of Radiotherapy oncology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, at DailyMail.com.
& # 39; But other things can be harmful, such as supplements or special diets.
& # 39; It is important that a doctor knows what his or her patient is doing, so that he can guide them and find ways to safely integrate those people into their care. & # 39;
The flagrant issue is that oncologists are usually not trained in complementary or alternative medicines.
Dealing with life-threatening illnesses, it is common for doctors to become somewhat dirty when mentioning a diet or supplements with hardly any research to support it – especially when it comes with over-hyped, false claims that it is the & # 39; cure & # 39; could cure illness.
Doctors also have a limited time, an overflow of patients and sufficient logistical information to get through, which creates a perfect cocktail for excitement.
& # 39; Doctors have to deal with a lot in often short visits, so questions about complementary or alternative medicine are not part of the standard of care, & Sanford explains.
But a growing wave of research shows that the gap between regular and complementary medicine must be bridged.
According to a recent study by researchers at Yale University, cancer patients who try complementary or alternative medicine are more likely to discontinue regular treatment, such as chemotherapy, which could increase their risk of death.
Dr. Cary Gross, lead author of the Yale study, told DailyMail.com in July when the study came out: the lack of comfort of doctors about these alternative therapies and a lack of knowledge about them perpetuates the feeling that patients cannot discuss it with their doctor for fear of being belittled or ignorant.
& # 39; Too many people think that doctors just work for large pharmaceutical companies and are more focused on profit than on their comfort.
& # 39; We need to find out why these things help cancer patients feel better and be open to talk about it. & # 39;
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