Patients who chose alternative therapies to treat a common, curable cancer instead of opting for the recommended medical treatment double their risk of death, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Conventional medical treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, while any other unproven cancer treatment administered by non-medical personnel would be considered an alternative therapy.
Yale School of Medicine’s Dr. Skyler Johnson, lead author of the study, said that based on what he’s seen as a practicing doctor, patients are increasingly refusing or delaying conventional cancer treatment in favor of alternative therapies.
As a result of that, their cancer is “advancing; either getting larger or spreading to lymph nodes or spreading to distant sites. This is concerning, because your chance of cure decreases as the cancer grows and spreads,” Johnson said
Delaying recommended medical treatment may allow cancer to spread and reach an advanced stage, which decreases a patient’s ability to survive, he added.