By: James Felton/IFL Science Cancer is a terrifying thing to go through. To then be faced with chemotherapy, which comes with unpleasant side effects and is never 100 percent guaranteed to work, can be even more worrying for some patients.
So when someone tells you that non-invasive smelling salts rather than radiotherapy is going to fix you, and there’ll be no side-effects, it’s easy to see why some people would opt for the “miracle cure”.
However, there is a reason why doctors recommend chemotherapy rather than homeopathy. When alternative therapies are proved to be effective, they just become medicine. They’re called “alternative” because they haven’t been proven in any way to work.
To add weight to what scientists have already known for years, a new study has shown that if you turn away from medical science in favor of alternative therapies to treat cancer, you are more likely to die of your disease.
Scientists from Yale University sifted through the National Cancer Database for their study “Use of Alternative Medicine for Cancer and Its Impact on Survival”. The National Cancer Database holds around 34 million records of cancer patients, showing their treatment program as well as their survival rates.
From this data, they followed 280 people who were diagnosed with cancer in 2004 that opted for alternative medicine rather than conventional cancer treatments. They also followed 560 control patients, who were also diagnosed with cancer but chose to take conventional medicine (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery, etc).
They tracked both groups over time and found that after five years, 78.3 percent of people who opted for medical treatment were still alive. Sadly, only 54.7 percent of people who opted for alternative therapies were still alive after the five years.
The study also looked at different types of cancer, RealClear Science reports. They found that if you have lung cancer you were twice as likely to die after five years if you opted for alternative therapies. For colorectal cancer, you are four times more likely to die if you reject conventional medicine in favor of alternative treatment.
Most shocking of all was the breast cancer survival rates.
Women who chose alt med over traditional therapy for breast cancer had five fold increased risk of death https://t.co/MeRtZE0swm pic.twitter.com/ECJe5SEUpn
— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) August 11, 2017
Overall the evidence from the study is pretty damning and yet it showed what we already knew: The best chance for your survival if you get cancer is to get scientifically proven treatment from medical professionals.
With improvements all the time to medicine, people are surviving cancer for longer and longer. If you choose to reject medical science in favor of alternative therapies you are, sadly, choosing to reject your best chance for survival.
If you reject conventional medicine for alternative medicine for your cancer, you’re 2.5 times more likely to die. https://t.co/uVJ2lFJKhS
— Trisha Greenhalgh (@trishgreenhalgh) August 11, 2017