Group warns public on alternative medicines

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12:40 AM January 11th, 2017

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By: Cebu Daily News, January 11th, 2017 12:40 AM

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THE Philippine Society of Medical Oncology (PSMO) is warning the public on the dangers of substituting scientific cure and treatment to cancer with complementary and alternative medicines (CAM).

This is in light of the proliferation of CAM in the country particularly herbal medicines and food supplements in the form of capsules, teas and pills among others that have been seemingly giving cancer patients false promises of cure without solid results of human clinical trials to back such claims.

“Complementary and alternative medicines cannot and should not replace standard therapies. Only supplements with high level of scientific evidence may be used to safely complement standard care of therapy,” read a part of PSMO’s position statement released to the media yesterday.

The Society further negates the existence of a food or herbal medicine that has been scientifically proven to cure, prevent and ward off the recurrence of cancer in the body, as some brands of food supplement suggest.

“Testimonies and anecdotes we hear in the radio, these are paid individuals. And plural of anecdotes is not an evidence (of a products safety and efficacy),” said oncologist Ellie May Villegas during yesterday’s “Holistic oncology: Understanding complementary versus alternative medicine” lay forum that was attended by oncologists, cancer survivors and the media at Chong Hua Hospital in Mandaue.

While the intake of these medicines and supplements does not pose adverse effects to a cancer patient, PSMO reminds the public that these should not take precedence to doctors’ advice most especially the scientific cures and treatments for cancer which have been proven and tested through years of study and legitimate clinical trials. /Correspondent Dominic D. Yasay

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