Third of European cancer patients use complementary and alternative therapies

Unfortunately, it seems that the hocus-pocus of “alternative medicine” like homeopathy is impossible to eradicate, especially when people are in desperate situations with diseases like cancer. Homeopathic drugs are so diluted, that an average dose of homeopathic medicine is unlikely to contain even a single molecule of the active ingredient. Homeopaths make bizarre claims about how this is okay because the active ingredient leaves some sort of “vibration” behind in the other inert molecules, which has the salutary effect. If this were shown to be true, we would have to revise much of what we know about the universe, and science would change in a fundamental way. Which is just another way of saying: homeopathy is undoubtably a bunch of hogwash; anyone with the least bit of background in science knows this. So is almost all other “alternative” therapy. I realize that, like prayer, it probably makes its irrational practitioners feel better, but I can’t help thinking that it is better to understand and face the truth about disease, even in the worst of circumstances. Billions are spent on things like “crystal healing” every year by the gullible. In fact, Complementary and Alternative Medicine is the second largest growth industry in Europe right now.

More than a third of cancer patients in Europe make use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), according to one of the largest surveys undertaken of CAM in cancer.

In the first Europe-wide study of CAM, a team of international researchers found that its use varied from a low of just under 15% of cancer patients in Greece to a high of nearly three-quarters of patients in Italy.

Writing in Annals of Oncology[1] (Thursday 3 February) lead author Dr Alex Molassiotis said that their survey of nearly 1,000 patients showed that it was vital that health professionals were aware of CAM use and able to educate patients, and that the EU was involved in regulating it more efficiently.

Read more about this depressing trend here.