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Home > Popular Complementary and Alternative Treatments Do Not Interfere with Conventional Prostate Cancer Care

Popular Complementary and Alternative Treatments Do Not Interfere with Conventional Prostate Cancer Care

August 22, 2007 703.517.2422


(Palm Springs, CA) - Naturopathic and dietary supplement therapies often employ products with antioxidant activity to mitigate the negative effects of cancer and its treatment. However, many treatments for cancer treatments, including radiation therapy and some chemotherapy agents, rely at least in part, on oxidative mechanisms to assist in killing tumors. Should patients receiving radiation and other conventional treatments for this deadly disease cease consumption of naturopathic products? The results of a new study bring further clarity to the debate.

A retrospective analysis of clinical response to radiation therapy, as measured by prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in prostate cancer patients who had and had not participated in concomitant naturopathic therapy has been conducted. Entitled, “Effect of Complementary Alternative Medical Therapy on Tumor Response, Control and Reoccurrence in Prostate Cancer Patients Treated with Radiation Therapy,” it was conducted by Letitia Cain, ND and Katherine Anderson, ND, both with the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) - Southwestern Regional Medical Center, Tulsa, OK. Dr. Anderson is discussing the findings at the 22nd annual meting of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP; www.Naturopathic.org). The conference will be held at the Palm Springs Convention Center, Palm Springs, CA, August 22-25, 2007.

The researchers analyzed patients’ clinical response to radiation therapy - as measured by PSA levels – in those undergoing conventional and conventional plus naturopathic All were diagnosed with clinical stage 1 cancer (Stage Ib-2; T1-T2/NO/MO). Of the total, 69 received CAM treatments (comprised of at least one antioxidant, including green tea extract, melatonin and a high potency multivitamin) and 56 did not receive CAM treatment.

Most patients received radiation therapy for their cancer. The remaining patients received either HDR monotherapy treatment, tomotherapy, or tomotherapy combined with IMRT treatment. Of those who received hormone therapy in addition to the radiation, five received CAM therapy and two did not receive CAM. The follow-up period consisted of 24 – 43 days.

The response to radiation therapy in prostate cancer patients did not appear to be inhibited by naturopathic interventions with antioxidant activity based on the magnitude of the PSA response, the PSA nadir, and the duration of PSA normalization for 24 months or greater.

The researchers concluded that:

• naturopathic treatments with antioxidant activity, which are designed to improve patient tolerance to cancer therapy and quality of life, do not appear to inhibit the effectiveness of radiation therapy designed to control localized prostate cancer; and

• this type of investigation in well-defined, homogeneous cancer populations that receive consistent CAM regimens offers the opportunity to investigate the positive CAM benefits in cancer patient management.

According to Dr. Anderson, “At least for prostate cancer, consumption of naturopathic products and dietary supplements with antioxidants should not cease when undertaking conventional treatment for cancer.”

Naturopathic physicians are trained in the art and science of natural healthcare at accredited medical colleges. Integrative partnerships between conventional medical doctors and licensed naturopaths are becoming more available. This cooperation makes more effective therapies available to consumers. It increases patient satisfaction in their relationships with their care providers. More people are recovering their health by adding naturopathic medicine to their health care options.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Members of the media are invited to attend the conference, being held at Palm Springs Convention Center, Palm Springs, CA. To arrange an interview with Dr. Anderson, please contact Donna Nunn at 703-517-2422 or AANPMeeting2007@aol.com.