Such therapies can be categorized broadly into three groups:
Today, about half of the practitioners who dispense alternative treatments are physicians, although they tend to be generalists rather than oncologists. As many as 60% of physicians have referred their patients to a complementary or alternative practitioner.
Complementary and alternative cancer treatments are often grouped together, but this grouping is controversial. Complementary treatments may receive more support within the mainstream medical community. A 2006 systematic review of the effectiveness of these techniques in reducing pain concluded that although several seemed promising, conclusive evidence was lacking.
The most popular alternative cancer therapies are nutritional, including the macrobiotic diet, and other therapies include mind-body intervention, bioelectromagnetics, various biologic/pharmacologic treatments, and herbs. The popularity and prevalence of different treatments varies widely by region.
A 2006 systematic review 214 articles covering 198 clinical trials of alternative medicines concluded that many did not properly analyze the proper doses. It also reported that the methodology of many of the studies "is open to criticism".
The US FTC recently acted against companies that made unsupported claims that their products, some of which included highly toxic chemicals, could cure cancer. Targets included Omega Supply, Native Essence Herb Company, Daniel Chapter One, Gemtronics, Inc., Herbs for Cancer, Nu-Gen Nutrition, Inc., Westberry Enterprises, Inc., Jim Clark’s All Natural Cancer Therapy, Bioque Technologies, Inc., Cleansing Time Pro, and Premium-essiac-tea-4less.
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