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Patients Against Lymphoma


Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Last Update: 03/31/2014

Introduction | Topic Index and Main Topics | Common Myths | The problems with testimonials

Natural "remedies" - Caveats of Dietary Supplements
The Skeptic's CaseResources & Research News
| CAM Survey | CAM Links  | Alerts! 

INDEX of topics: A to Z

Topic Index

Acid/Alkaline Diet?


Allergens & infections 



alpha-lipoic acid?

Antineoplastons? (Burzynski)




CAM Links  

Amino Acid Deprivation?

(Kamillosan oral rinse)

  Caveats of supplement use

 Cesium Chloride (high pH therapy) for cancer?




Conspiracy Theory:
Big Pharma?


Detoxifying as Treatment?



Diet as Treatment?

  Diet and supplements to Delay Relapse? 


DIM - diindolylmethane

Drug Resistance Assays? (Nagourney)


Exercise/ Performance 

Faith and Healing 

Fats (good & bad)

Fish oil
 Fish oil abstracts 


Insulin Potentiating
Therapy (IPT)?


“German New Medicine”?  

Gerson Therapy? 




 Green tea 


  Herb / Drug Alerts 

Hoxsey Therapy?


Hypertheramia/ Hot baths with Chemo? 

Hyperbaric Therapy?

Boosting immunity?


Laetrile / Amygdalin: Q&A  

 Licorice root?

Macrobiotic diet?



Mind over Body? 
Does stress cause Cancer?


Mercury amalgams removal?

  Milk Thistle



Naltrexone (low dose)?

Natural Supplements - Caveats

Noni juice?


Patent law and natural compounds

Positive thinking

pH (acid/alkaline)

UV irradiation?




Life Rife Frequency Generator 

Robert Miller's Strategies for Survival?



 St. John's Wort


Sugar restriction?  

Tea (black)


UV irradiation?

Vitamin Reports

Vitamin A 

 Vitamin C 

Vitamin D 

Vitamin E 


Water treatment systems (review)

Whey Protein 



In the News

FDA issues warning to controversial Houston cancer doctor http://usat.ly/IRdWYg
* Respectful Insolence 2013:
The drip, drip, drip, drip of FDA findings against Stanislaw Burzynski continues http://bit.ly/19jSaqU
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013
Ginseng for cancer-related fatigue  - randomized trial http://1.usa.gov/1fRx2HP
American Journal of Gastroenterology: Efficacy of an Encapsulated Probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 in Women with Irritable Bowel Syndrome http://bit.ly/18hIiQ5
Link Between High Blood Levels of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Increased Risk of Aggressive Prostate Cancer Confirmed
Pot for medicinal purposes?  adai.uw.edu
Please first review the respiratory effects of marijuana
Science Based Medicine:
What’s in your supplement? http://bit.ly/11Uvfu8
Sunrise Rounds: Choosing Alternative Medicine
CA Cancer J Clin 2012: Nutrition and physical
activity guidelines for cancer survivors   | PDF version

CAM stands for Complementary and Alternative medicine. It's an umbrella term for interventions and practices that are not generally in the mainstream of medicine as practiced today in the United States and many countries.  Here we describe the different types of medicine that are practiced today.

Complementary Medicine

Practices that are sometimes a part of mainstream medical care, such as to help improve general health, or to relieve symptoms.  Doing Yoga for pain or stress relief is an example.  Such activities are sometimes called integrative medicine

Alternative cancer practices

These are theory-based practices that are sometimes used to replace mainstream medical care. 

We do not endorse alternative medicine because theories are very easy to make up and even scientifically valid theories will fail to provide benefit when tested.

The promotions of alternative cancer practices are typically based on implausible theories,  testimonials and conspiracy theories

Evidence-based medicine

These are medical practices that are based on scientific discovery or knowledge that have been proven by clinical testing to provide clinical benefit  - defined as living a longer life or by improving quality of life. 

These pre-defined (prospective) tests of the treatments are carried out in patients who have the disease.  The results are reviewed by peers and regulatory agencies.  

The prospective design of clinical trials helps to measure the rate of outcomes, such as response rate, and also the expected duration of response, side effects, and survival - for others.  Such as 30/100 responses.

A key principles of evidence-based medicine is to evaluate a treatment in  ways that predict the results for others.  Such as:

Study design to  minimize bias (controlled studies) of sufficient size
Pre-specifying the intervention, patient population, how the outcomes will be measured, and the result that warrants approval (prospective design)
Reproducibility of the outcomes by other groups (verification)

See also: Theory, Observation, and Endpoints

Preventative medicine

These are changes to life style that can reduce the risk of developing some kinds of disease. Most everyone agrees that preventive practices (adopting a healthful diet, increasing our exercise, cessation of smoking) are keys to better performance, decreasing the incidence of many diseases, and lowering medical costs.

Some obvious targets of such efforts would be the tobacco and food industries, but also public education. 

Popular Topics: Diet | Turmeric?

On Levels of Evidence

Credible Resources


About Science
and "Alternative" Health Methods


Alternative Universe, 
Wallace Sampson, MD


Cancer information and the Internet: Benefits and Risks, Maurie Markman, MD


Cancer myths


Natural "remedies" - Caveats of Dietary Supplements


Conspiracy Theory? | Slide


Consumer Health Digest  ncahf.org


Is it reputable?  - a checklist for judging online information PDF


Elements of evidence   ... C-P-R: Credibility, Plausibility, Reproducibility. http://bit.ly/evidenceCPR 


Evaluating medical claims and data  


Mouse model?  A mouse is not a man (or women), by Bill Rose  PAL


Red Flags and Free Speech PDF


Is it Reputable? ... PDF   | Slide



bullet Questionable Cancer Therapies, Stephen Barrett, M.D. quackwatch.org

When Lay Persons Give Medical Advice


BCC guidance on CAM Below


Consumer Report on Herbs and Supplements consumerreports.org


Dietary Supplements in Patients With Cancer: Risks and Key Concepts
Technical: Part I  Part II (Medscape)


HerbMed® herbmed.org 


Herbs & Supplements  alleghanyregional 


Herbs or Natural Products That May Cause Cancer and Harm, Part Four Muriel J. Montbriand, PhD, RN - ons.org 


Linus Pauling Institute  lpi.oregonstate.edu/


Medicines from the Earth


MEDLINEplus: Alternative Medicine (National Library of Medicine)


MEDLINEplus: Herbs and Supplements 


Natural Products for Cancer Treatment


NIH Office of Dietary Supplements

Questionable Cancer Therapies, Stephen Barrett, M.D. quackwatch.org

Vitamins umm.edu/




Drug/Supplement Interaction Checker drugreax.epnet 


Complementary and Alternative Medicine Online Continuing Education Series Video Lectures


CAM studies recruiting patients ClinicalTrials.gov 


Use of Complementary/Integrative Nutritional Therapies During Cancer Treatment: Implications in Clinical Practice Medscape


NCI Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine

To avoid potential adverse interactions
be sure to let your health care provider know 
if you use supplements when receiving therapy.


Natural "remedies" - Caveats of Dietary Supplements


Move to it's own topic page:  Natural Supplements - Caveats


Anonymous & Confidential 4-question CAM SURVEY
 for lymphoma survivors or caregivers

Purpose:  To can better meet needs when we understand the community we serve - details

After you complete the survey you will see a list of what you selected.  
When you return to this form, you are done.

Basic information:
  1. a) You are a  lymphoma survivor, OR caregiver (providing input for another)
    b) Gender of person diagnosed:                                                                         
    c) Age at diagnosis:                                                                          
    d) Approximate time since diagnosis:                                                                       
    e) Grade of lymphoma (choose one):  
       indolent (slow growing) 
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM):

alternative medicine - non-mainstream substitutes for treatment
complementary medicine - practices used to improve quality of life, 
such as yoga

  1. You believe that herbs, supplements, and other life style practices CAN directly change 
    the course of the disease 
    (Yes, Likely, Don't know, Unlikely, No)
  2. You consider testimonials (experiences related by individuals) to be reliable 
    evidence of the merits of CAM practices. 
    (Yes, Not sure, No)
  3. You feel that there could be a conspiracy in the medical establishment to undermine 
    the credibility of CAM practices for cancers. 
    (Yes, Not sure, No)

 Click Submit to complete the survey.  Thank you for participating!


Return to top

The Skeptic's Case 

Medical experts speaking out against Unproven Therapies for Cancers

Spontaneous Remission and the Placebo Effect, Stephen Barrett, M.D. Quackwatch.org 
Recovery from illness, whether it follows self-medication, treatment by a scientific practitioner, or treatment by an unscientific practitioner, may lead individuals to conclude that the treatment received was the cause of the return to good health.

Respectful Insolence by Surgeon/ Scientist Orac 
"A statement of fact cannot be insolent." The miscellaneous ramblings of a surgeon/scientist on medicine, quackery, science, pseudoscience, history, and pseudohistory (and anything else that interests him

Respectful Insolence

Alternative Therapies for Curing Cancer: What Do Patients Want? What Do Patients Need? 
Wendy S. Harpham, MD (NHL survivor) amcancersoc.org
"Patients who don’t understand the difference between information based on theory, anecdote, historical analysis, or double-blind placebo controlled studies are making ill-informed decisions, believing alternative therapies are safer or more effective when they are not. Even patients who presume that alternative therapies are ineffective may use them. Why? When faced with a life-threatening disease requiring highly toxic treatments with no guarantees, or when dying because there are no effective conventional treatments, it takes guts to reject something or someone claiming to be able to save you, just in case you might be wrong." 

The Alternative Universe, By Wallace Sampson, MD geomag.gfdi.fsu.edu 
... "modern medicine's integrity is being eroded by New Age mysticism, cult-like schemes, ideologies, and classical quackery, all known as "alternative medicine." Using obscure language and misleading claims, they promote changes that would propel medicine back five centuries or more. They would supplant objectivity and reason with myths, feelings, hunches and sophistry. 

NCCAM is being presented as a scientific vehicle to study alternative medicine's anomalous methods. But NCCAM actually promotes the movement by assuming that false and implausible claims are legitimate things to study."

Debunking cancer myths: An interview with a Mayo Clinic specialist mayoclinic.com/
Medical myths not only mislead but also may hamper proper treatment. Find out why these common cancer myths are wrong.  Highly recommended reading.

NEW: Boosting your immune system to fight cancer?  http://bit.ly/1euzrK 

Consumer Health Digest  ncahf.org 
"NCAHF is a private nonprofit, voluntary health agency that focuses upon health misinformation, fraud, and quackery as public health problems. Our positions are based upon the principles of science that underlie consumer protection law. We advocate: (a) adequate disclosure in labeling and other warranties to enable consumers to make truly informed choices; (b) premarketing proof of safety and effectiveness for products and services claimed to prevent, alleviate, or cure any health problem; and, (c) accountability for those who violate the law."

2006 Archive | 2005 Archive | 2004 Archive | 2003 Archive | 2002 Archive | 2001 Archive
Subscribe to CH Digest | NCAHF Home Page | Search All of Our Affiliated Sites

Caring (Really) for Patients Who Use Alternative Therapies for Cancer  jco.org
"The reasons why people seek alternative therapies for cancer are broad. Many seek out alternative therapy when options for conventional therapy have been exhausted. There is also the recognition that, for some tumor systems, conventional therapy is of limited effectiveness and that the side effects of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation are feared. For some tumor systems, no conventional therapy exists and the standard therapy is participation in phase I or phase II trials. Many patients perceive that the conventional approach is emotionally or spiritually empty and provides neither comfort nor solace."

Science-Based Medicine
Exploring issues and controversies in the relationship between science and medicine

Interpreting Medical Literature

Other Resources  & Research News

Vitamin Reports from Randomized Trials - Cautionary tales
CAM - Medlexicon: Fasting May Boost Chemo By Weakening Cancer Cells

“The study shows that five out of eight cancer types in mice
[also\ responded to fasting alone: it slowed the growth and spread
and of tumors.” (showing the limitation of animal models)
J Altern Complement Med. 2008 - The Status and
Future of Acupuncture Clinical Research
Exercise - Medscape: Treatment for Cancer Patients Should Include It
Burzynski Clinic in Science-blogger's crosshairs  PAL
Skeptoid- Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomenon: Boost Your
Immune System (or Not) -Is "boosting your immune system"
for real? Is that possible, and can you really buy it in a bottle?
Cancer Prevention, Naturally http://bit.ly/cfSFJR
AACR 2009: Oncologists Should Recommend Exercise, But Not Supplements medscape.com

There is accumulating evidence to show that it can improve both prognosis and quality of life

BC Cancer Agency: Guidance on unconventional therapies bccancer.bc.cam 
Cancer patients conceal alternative meds nlm.nih.gov
Ethical considerations of complementary and alternative medical therapies  in conventional medical settings.  Ann Intern Med. 2002  PubMed
Facts About Dietary Supplement NIH

A Cancer Patient’s Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Heather L. Morein University of California San Diego School of Medicine 
Independent Study Project, April 2002 (Large 168 pg document)  PDF
Use of Complementary/Integrative Nutritional Therapies During Cancer Treatment: Implications in Clinical Practice - Medscape 2002 H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Inc.
Disclaimer:  The information on Lymphomation.org is not intended to be a substitute for 
professional medical advice or to replace your relationship with a physician.
For all medical concerns,  you should always consult your doctor. 
Patients Against Lymphoma, Copyright © 2004,  All Rights Reserved.