Alternative Medicines

Alternative Medicines

What are Alternative forms of Medicine?

Treatment options that are not related to allopathy are known as alternative forms of treatment. There are many different forms of alternative treatments across the world that are used in the hope of treating Cancer. In India, some of the common forms of alternative forms of medicine used include Homeopathy, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and others.

Do alternative forms of Medicine work in treatment in Cancer?

Generally, there is limited evidence that they work in the treatment of Cancer.

How can you say that these forms of treatment do not work when a lot of people believe in them and use these treatments?

Modern healthcare in designed on the concept called “Evidence based Medicine”. Any form of treatment in Cancer, be it Chemotherapy, Surgery, Radiotherapy, Biological and Immunotherapy is given to the patient only if there is evidence of that treatment working in that setting.

How is this evidence gathered?

The evidence in “Evidence Based Medicine” is gathered by testing one treatment against the other on a number of patients, usually hundreds to thousands of patients with that particular Cancer. Only those treatments that have shown to provide meaningful benefit in these tests or clinical trials will be approved for treatment. Therefore, when allopathic treatments are used, there is solid evidence present that these treatments are beneficial in that setting.

Is there any evidence that Alternative forms of Medicine work?

There is no definite clinical trials evidence of any kind of these treatments working in Cancer. There may be anecdotal evidence of such benefits, but that is not as robust as clinical trial evidence. As most of these medicines have less side effects than allopathic medicines, if sufficient evidence is available that any kind of alternative medicine works, I am sure these treatments would be given instead of standard treatments to all patients.

If I want to try Alternative medicines, when should I use them?

If you do wish to try these medicines, it is best to use them once all recognised and proven treatments are used and no further treatment options are left.

Can I use standard allopathic and Alternative treatments at the same time?

No, it is not recommended to use these two treatment options at the same time because we do not know what the interaction between the two treatments would do. The interactions could make the treatments ineffective or increase the risk of side effects.