Do Alternative Therapies Work When You Have Cancer?

When you are suffering from cancer, many people will advise you to take this supplement or that supplement, to try various different therapies and cite all kinds of complementary methods that they swear have been known to cure cancer. But do any of these therapies actually cure cancer and restore your wellness? Dr Paul Offit, Chief of Infectious Diseases based at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia thinks not. He has recently published a book called ‘Do You Believe in Magic? The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine’.


The renowned paediatrician is a leading expert in the infectious diseases and vaccines field, and has previously written a book decrying the idea that vaccinations are in some way linked to autism or that they can cause infections.


His latest book is bound to annoy those who either practice or believe in the multi-billion dollar empire that is alternative medicine to improve their wellbeing. In the book, the doctor looks at many different types of complementary therapies including acupuncture, vitamins, cancer cures and chelation therapy. The doctor points out that as a medic he stands firmly on the side of proved, trialed and tested forms of medicine and that whilst he is not saying that techniques such as massage and meditation don’t help, he is saying that they have simply not been proved so far.


The doctor does, however, point out that putting your faith in alternative therapies may even be dangerous in some cases, especially if people put full faith in the alternative therapy rather than treating with traditional medicine and complementary medicine simultaneously. He cites the case of a 10 year old suffering from Hodgkin’s, whose parents decided to treat him with a drug made from apricot stones, even though studies have repeatedly shown that apricot pits are not an effective way of treating cancer. Unfortunately, the boy died.


As the doctor points out: ‘Do you know what they call alternative medicine that has been proven to work? Medicine.’

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