Complementary and alternative medicine in cancer - how to find credible websites

To wrap up this mini-series on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies in cancer, a helpful place to end is showing you how I “separate the wheat from the chaff” (so to speak) when reading about this therapy or that treatment.

In Scotland, there used to be a comedy sketch show called “Chewin’ the Fat” (if you’ve never watched it, it’s worth a Google - there are some classic skits, albeit a bit old now). Anyway, one of the main characters (played by Karen Dunbar) was an old woman who could “sniff out” when someone was lying to her.

As a qualified scientist, with years of experience in the field of cancer research specifically, I’ve developed a bit of a nose for “sh*te” science, pseudoscience and downright utter nonsense (although I do still like to read about some seemingly weird phenomenon that have been widely debunked by the scientific community, just with a critical eye, you know?!).

When it...

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Complementary and alternative cancer therapies you can live without

Last week we looked at three types of complementary therapy that are worth including in your patient’s and client’s cancer treatment plan, and this week we’re going to look at three complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies for which there is little or no scientific evidence to support their use in cancer treatment.

Let’s start with one for which there is literally NO scientific evidence whatsoever.

Carctol

Carctol is a herbal mixture that was originally designed by Dr Nandlal Tiwari, an Ayurvedic practitioner from India, who has been promoting it as a treatment for a wide range of different conditions. 

More recently, it caught the attention of the media as an “alternative cancer cure”. In fact, there was almost a whole page spread featured in The Telegraph about it! Here’s an opinion piece that breaks down the whole story. 

However, rather worryingly, in an article written in 2009 the author declared his inability...

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Which complementary therapies are worth including in a cancer treatment plan?

Last week we looked at what CAM therapy is, and this week we’re going to explore three types of therapies that are worth including in your patient’s or client’s treatment regime, and we’ll take a closer look at the evidence available to support their use in cancer.

Let’s start with the safest types of CAM therapy - those that involve no drugs, no needles and no drastic dietary changes.

Complementary therapies that promote emotional wellbeing

This first category of complementary therapies includes journaling, mindfulness and (quite possibly my favourite!) nature immersion.

Journaling is a practice that has grown in popularity in recent years, perhaps fuelled (or even fed!) by the explosion of beautiful stationery available on the market. Both my 8-year old daughter and I are self-professed stationery-addicts - we can’t walk past a Paperchase store without being drawn in by all that glitters…!

I’ve been journaling myself for about 2.5...

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What is CAM therapy for cancer?

A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended a “superconsciousness” workshop called Supergenius Life with the hilarious Ryan Pinnick. This guy has arguably struck the perfect blend between humour and self-help - one minute sharing heartbreaking stories, the next having the audience in stitches, but all the while bringing it back to practical, applicable principles you can use to get over your own barriers to growth and experience the best version of your own reality possible.

During the workshop, we spent some time working on our own personal life vision. What I found really interesting about this exercise was that, unlike every other time I’ve sat down to do some “visioning work” and I start with my career and business goals, this time I started with my family life. It came to me so naturally that I couldn’t help but write about my hopes and dreams for my family.

And when the time came to move onto work and business, the words flowed from the tip...

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