Tag: breast cancer

Why do some women refuse treatments for their breast cancer?

Adjuvant therapy after surgery, such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, and radiation therapy, has contributed to a 39% decrease in breast cancer mortality since 1989. Unfortunately, a significant number of women decline evidence-based adjuvant therapy. A recent study suggests that distrust of the medical system plays a significant role in such refusal.

/ November 13, 2017

Naturopathy vs. patients: Patients lose

Over the weekend, there was a news story describing two cancer patients treated by naturopaths in New Zealand. Both died, one almost certainly unnecessarily, the other after enduring more suffering than she likely had to. These tragic cases and others reminded me of why it is so appalling that so many physicians are "integrating" naturopathy into "integrative medicine." In reality, they are...

/ August 28, 2017

Alternative medicine kills cancer patients

By definition, alternative medicine has not been shown to be effective or has been shown to be ineffective. Thus, alternative medicine is ineffective against cancer and can best be represented as either no treatment at all or potentially harmful treatment. It is thus not surprising that cancer patients who choose alternative medicine have a higher risk of dying from their cancer. A...

/ August 14, 2017

Does chemotherapy cause cancer to spread?

Earlier this month, a study was published in Science Translational Medicine that showed how chemotherapy before surgery can stimulate breast cancer invasiveness and invasion under certain circumstances. Not surprisingly, alternative cancer cure mavens everywhere are spinning the study as "proof" that chemotherapy has no benefit and causes only harm (and so you should buy their nostrums instead). Unsurprisingly, the actual results are...

/ July 17, 2017

Precision Medicine and Uncertainty

Precision medicine is a development that promises to tailor treatments to the individual patient based on genetic and other molecular and cellular analyses. In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the Precision Medicine Initiative. A website for Precision Medicine claims to offer “perfect care for every individual.” Much of what we read about precision medicine gives the impression...

/ November 15, 2016

Mammography and overdiagnosis, revisited

Another new study supports the hypothesis that overdiagnosis is a major problem in mammography screening programs. Predictably, it is attacked based on a misunderstanding of what overdiagnosis is.

/ October 17, 2016

When science- and evidence-based guidelines conflict with patient wishes: What’s a doc to do?

We use the term "science-based medicine" (SBM) because medicine isn't a science. The best medicine, however, is based in science. Patient values are also important, but what is a science-based doctor to do when SBM conflicts with what a patient or family wants?

/ October 3, 2016

Diet and exercise versus cancer: A science-based view

Yes, diet and exercise can be useful to prevent some cancers. Unfortunately, they don't prevent all cancers, and the effect size is more modest than often represented. That's not to say that eating right and exercise aren't good. They are, for so many other reasons than cancer. Just don't view them as a panacea for preventing cancer.

/ September 19, 2016

Therapeutic Touch Pseudoscience: The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again

A study out of Iran titled “Therapeutic touch for nausea in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: Composing a treatment” was recently published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. It is a great example of the Tooth Fairy science that permeates much of the research in complementary and alternative medicine. In Tooth Fairy science, researchers attempt to study a phenomenon without...

/ May 31, 2016

CAM use and chemotherapy: A negative correlation

"Complementary and alternative medicine" (CAM) is represented as safe because it is administered alongside conventional medicine, despite the fact that for the vast majority of CAM modalities there is little or no evidence for efficacy. However, as a new study shows, cancer patients who use CAM tend to be more likely to refuse conventional cancer treatment.

/ May 22, 2016