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?!).
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 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...