Mesothelioma patients who opt to seek alternative therapies for the treatment of their condition may end up losing their battle against the fatal disease even faster than they would have had they limited their treatment to the use of traditional therapies. According to a study published in the journal JAMA Oncology, the fault lies less with any kind of negative impact that the complementary medicine might have than with the fact that patients who pursue these other options may do so while foregoing the use of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation medicine.
Though the study, conducted by physicians affiliated with the Yale School of Medicine, did not specifically examine patients diagnosed with mesothelioma, the researchers used data collected from almost 2 million patients that had been collected from the National Cancer Database. Those patients had been diagnosed with a variety of other illnesses, including non-metastatic breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colorectal cancer. The objective of the study was to compare the overall survival of patients who were receiving conventional cancer treatment to that of patients who chose complementary, or alternative, medicine approaches with or without the conventional treatments. What they found was that those who pursued the alternative, unproven treatments tended to refuse surgery at a much higher rate than those who strictly pursued conventional medicine, and the same was true for other therapies including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. This abandonment of traditional strategies resulted in a significantly poorer 5-year survival and a far greater risk of death.
Though the initial conclusion that mesothelioma patients might draw from these results is that complementary medicine caused a faster demise for cancer patients, a closer analysis revealed that the approach did not cause harm – instead it caused patients to refuse the traditional approaches that would have extended their lives. The takeaway from the study is that patients who choose to pursue alternative medicine need to at the same time continue the course of treatment recommended by their oncology team.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, it is essential that you seek help from those who have the qualifications and resources that you need. For assistance in finding that kind of support, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.