Attitudes of patients to alternative medicine for cancer treatment.

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Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2005 Apr-Jun;6(2):125-9.


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Department of Gastroenterology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, 226014 UP, India.

Abstract

Awareness of attitudes to different types of medicine is very important for estabishment of cancer prevention programs. Alternative medicine has become an important feature of oncology regardless of geographic region, and in India, the majority of cancer patients present at late advance stage of disease when curative treatment cannot be initiated. Given the lack of facilities it is no surprise that many Indian cancer patients try various complementary and alternative medicines, depsite the fact that little is known about their therapeutic efficacy and toxicity. A study was conducted in 300 biopsy proven cancer patients undergoing alternative cancer therapy with Psorinum in Kolkata. The main aim of the study was to analyze the patients'/caregivers narratives regarding the therapy they have been trying. One hundred and ninety five patients (65%) have consulted their oncologists before trying this therapy. About 18.5% of the patients expressed satisfaction with the therapy due to the holistic nature and team approach employed for patient management. The cost of the therapy was within the reach of many cancer patients belonging to the underprivileged segment of the society, contributing to its immense popularity in Kolkata. Whether this can be translated into a willingness to use similar natural compounds for cancer prevention and treatment purposes now needs to be analysed.