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Alternative Remedies for Cancer: Do They Work?

Ivanhoe Broadcast News

June 12, 2000

June 12, 2000 (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- As the fight against cancer continues, researchers are starting to do scientific studies on 'alternative' treatments.

     For example, Lixing Lao, a complementary medicine specialist at the University of Maryland has found that a combination of electroacupuncture and a low dose of anti-nausea drugs seemed to do a better job than just drugs or electroacupuncture alone.

     Meanwhile, Dennis Miller, M.D., a researcher with Aventis Pharmaceuticals in New Jersey, has determined that maitake mushrooms have strong immune system-boosting properties.

     In New York, Dr. Abraham Mittelman reports that a mixture of Chinese herbs called PC-SPES is being tested in 16 patients with prostate cancer. So far, the herbs have demonstrated an ability to decrease prostate specific antigen levels, reduce bone metastases and improve the quality of pain.

     On the negative side, too much vitamin C may be a bad thing during cancer treatment. According to David Golde, M.D., a physician-in-chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, vitamin C is taken up by cells in its oxidized form. While in general this is good, high doses of the vitamin in patients could counteract chemotherapy.

     By far the biggest issue in alternative medicine is quality control. Barrie Cassileth, Ph.D., says, "Anybody can put anything in a bottle without regard to its safety or efficacy. We desperately need a federal level to deal with that."

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2000 Ivanhoe Broadcast News, Inc.


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