International Health News

Alternative cancer treatments

TAMPA, FLORIDA. The National Institutes of Health has been funding several studies into the use of alternative and complementary cancer therapies. It is estimated that between 85 and 90 per cent of all cancer patients being treated at major centers now use some form of alternative therapy in combination with conventional treatment. Electroacupuncture has been found highly effective in reducing nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy. Extracts from the maitake mushroom show promise in the treatment of gastrointestinal, breast, lung and ovarian cancers, but large-scale clinical trials are still needed. PC-SPES, a mixture of eight Chinese herbs, is now widely used to treat prostate cancer. Dr. Abraham Mittelman, MD of the Westchester Medical Center reported at a recent meeting of the American Cancer Society that PC- SPES has been found to significantly lower prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels, reduce bone metastasis and lymph node swelling, and markedly alleviate pain. Dr. Mittelman says that several clinical trials of PC- SPECS are underway, but that the herbal mixture is already available for use and can be purchased over the Internet ( He recommends that a physician monitors the treatment as phlebitis and blood clots in the lungs have occurred in a few patients taking PC-SPES. Dr. David Golde, MD at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute also reported at the Cancer Society meeting that while vitamin C may generally be beneficial to cancer patients high doses can counteract the effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
McCann, Jean. Alternative remedies for cancer: an update. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Vol. 92, June 7, 2000, p. 872

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