What happens to cancer patients who choose "alternative" treatments?

In one study, researchers identified roughly 280 people who chose “alternative”—that is, unproven—treatments for several non-metastatic cancers.

After five years, patients who chose alternative treatments were six times more likely to die of breast cancer, five times more likely to die of colorectal cancer, two times more likely to die of lung cancer, and no more likely to die of prostate cancer (which progresses slowly) than similar patients who chose conventional treatment.

(Note that this study didn’t look at people who use complementary and integrative medicine in addition to conventional treatment.)

Those who chose alternative treatments had higher socioeconomic status and education, were more likely to live in the western United States, and had fewer other illnesses than other patients.

What to do

Don’t bet your life on unproven cancer remedies.

Photo: YakobchukOlena/stock.adobe.com.