Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
Legitimate Treatments for Cancer
QUESTION: I have just been diagnosed with inoperable cancer.
I'm getting advice from friends and relatives to check into all types of different
treatments they have heard about. How can you judge if various treatments for
cancer are legitimate?
ANSWER: Treatments for cancer are based on years of research both
in the lab and in clinical trials. Depending on the pathology of the cancer,
stage of the disease, prior treatment, a person's overall physical condition treatment
options are recommended. In some cases, only one specific cancer treatment
may be generally accepted as appropriate. But in many cases, a variety of
approaches might be used. Treatments for cancer are always evolving.
New discoveries are made and old methods are modified or discarded.
In order to make educated decisions regarding specific cancer treatments, it is
necessary to go beyond testimonials and promises. You want to understand what
the treatment is all about. A legitimate treatment method meets certain standards;
a questionable treatment does not meet any of them. These standards are:
- The method was studied scientifically and shown to be more effective than no cancer
treatment at all.
- The benefits of the method clearly exceed any harm it might
do. (You may need to ask specifically what problems people experienced on the treatment)
Studies of the method have been properly conducted. An appropriate research
design has been used, the studies have been subject to review by others knowledgeable
in the field and a human subjects committee has given the study its approval.
Treatments for cancer that are said to work only in the hands of one practitioner
are questionable by definition. New scientific therapies are always made available
through meetings, talks and publications to the entire community of scientists and
Discuss with your oncologist the cancer treatment options that are available
to you to treat your disease, how side effects of cancer treatments will be
managed, what other resources are available to help you through your treatment.
There are several resources available to person's undergoing treatment for cancer;
oncology nurses, social workers, dieticians, support groups etc. You can check
with the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org
or 1-800-ACS-2345), they can give you the listing of a local office, which can give
you information about what resources are available in your area.
Note: We strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional
about your specific medical condition and treatments. The information contained
in this website is meant to be helpful and educational, but is not a substitute
for medical advice.
Chemocare.com is designed to provide the latest information about chemotherapy to patients and their families, caregivers and friends. For information about the 4th Angel Mentoring Program visit www.4thangel.org