Alternative therapy use ups risk of death for cancer patients

This is because they're more likely to refuse recommended surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy

Cancer patients who use alternative therapies such as herbs, vitamins and special diets are more than twice as likely to die as those who stick to conventional treatments, research shows. 

The findings suggest it’s not the alternative therapies that increase the risk of death.

But that these patients are also more likely to forgo recommended medical treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

US researchers examined data on 258 patients treated for early-stage breast, prostate, lung or colorectal malignancies between 2004 and 2013 who used at least one form of alternative or complementary medicine.

This included products such as herbs, vitamins, specialised diets, and other types of treatments not proven to have a therapeutic effect. 

They also looked at a comparison group of 1,032 patients with similar cancers who didn't use alternative medicine.

Patients who used