Natural Cancer Therapies: Comparing Like With Like
The media often deals harshly with a person who has cancer who turns down medical treatment, turns to natural cancer therapies and subsequently dies. The success of a natural cancer treatment is measured on whether the person who is ill survives a natural lifespan. But this is not the case for medical treatments. Medical treatments such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy often use much "softer" evidence of success.
When comparing results it is important to make sure that like is compared with like.
Success in radiotherapy and chemotherapy is often measured, not in terms of improved longevity but in terms of the regression of the tumor. There is an assumption that if the tumor reduces in size that the patient must do better in the longer term. This idea seems to be common sense, but it has not been proven to be the case.
It is clear that those who respond to chemotherapy do better than those who do not. But there is no research which shows that a reduction of tumor size is linked to improved longevity when compared to those who are not treated. And radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments cannot be said to be effective if this case is not made.
Would the patient (and his family) feel that regression of the tumor was a "successful outcome" if he still died in the same time frame as if he was not treated, and if he suffered terribly from side effects of the treatments during the process?
A second measurement is the number of people who survive to five years. A doctor who gets more patients to the five year mark than his colleagues might feel a personal triumph but the family whose mother dies at five years and three days will feel just as devastated as if the mother dies three days prior to the five years. In the first case the patient is designated as having a successful outcome and in the second as a less successful one. But for the family it is the same.
A third definition the medical profession use is the length of apparent tumor-free time until metastases appear. They call this disease free time, but if the disease commonly returns it seems disingenuous to pretend that the treatment made the patient disease-free. However the point as issue here is whether tumor-free time is a success if the patient then goes on to die in the same time frame as they would if they had not been treated?
Many medical professionals get very anxious and often very annoyed if you ask for evidence that the recommended treatment works. They may well spray around wonderful sounding percentages to "prove" that their recommendations will give a better chance.
However there have also been many a time when the doctor (reluctantly) hands over the research only to find that the patient or a member of their family dissects the research to find that the wonderful percentage improvements relate not to longevity but to tumor regression or to increased tumor-free time.
So if your doctor is making percentage claims of success for a particular treatment ask what this means in terms of additional years of survival. If he will not tell you or cannot tell you, then the probability is that the research does not show such an increase. If he does claim years of increased longevity then ask him for a copy of the research that says this. After all he is asking you to undertake treatment with potentially horrendous side effects (not to mention the cost to the family).
If the increased longevity is measured in only a few months then only you will know if the six to twelve months of treatments and side effects is worth two to four months of extra life, remembering of course that you might be one of the group of people who do not get that extra time.
If longevity with a high quality of life is your aim then think carefully as to how much the offered medical treatment may increase your longevity alongside the high cost of treatment side effects. It is a perfectly valid choice to decide against medical treatment for the time being and to choose to work with natural cancer therapies instead.
Remember that while natural cancer therapies have not been proven to work to the satisfaction of the medical profession neither have their own treatments (except in a few cases) been shown to be effective in treating cancer. This means that those tens of thousands of cases who recover may well have recovered anyway. Self healing is a natural process, built into our bodies.
Therefore any natural cancer therapies which support an improved immune system and a happier, more satisfying quality of life must be worthy of consideration.
by: Harriet Denz PenheyAbout the Author:Dr Harriet Denz-Penhey is an internationally recognized health researcher who has done groundbreaking research into patient self care in serious illness. The web site http://www.cancerremedies.org discusses aspects of natural cancer treatment and remedies for good general health.