Unconventional treatments more common with cancer patients

Despite a growing trend among cancer patients to look for "natural" alternatives to traditional treatments, many doctors warn that such decisions could jeopardize any chance at all of beating the disease, the Associated Press reports. Studies have shown that around 40 percent of cancer patients use vitamins and dietary supplements in an attempt to stay healthy, when the reality is that some of those supplements can instead either cause cancer medicines to stop working, or can even have an effect on hormones that cause the cancer to grow.

Another 7 percent--including people like Leslee Flasch of Florida--jump straight to alternative treatments. Flasch, who initially thought that taking dietary supplements would help her fight her rectal cancer, avoided surgery early on to try such an approach. By the time she realized that surgery was her best option, the disease had spread all over, and it was too late, with one doctor, Lodovico Balducci of Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center, saying that her pain must have been "excruciating."

Barrie Cassileth, integrative medicine chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, doesn't think the trend of attempting alternative treatments is going away any time soon.

"What I am noticing in the last year or two is a resurgence of these things," she said. "It's coming back."

For more:
- check out this Associated Press article