Should People with Cancer Try Alternative Therapies?

Read Transcript

I guess the easy way to answer is I don't know what the hell alternative means. I'm being somewhat facetious there. I'm simpleton. I believe in things and I know will work. And I don't want to sacrifice things I know will work and add a benefit with things that there is no data behind in randomized trials.

So I'm not against something as long as it doesn't harm doing the standard therapies which I know can benefit a patient. So certainly there are things that relax a patient. That's fantastic, they will do a acupuncture cuz it relax them, I'm all for it. If they want to take a particular herb and it's never been studied how it interacts with the chemotherapy drugs that I'm giving, I can't allow it.

I can't allow it because I'm afraid I can't model I don't know what's going to happen. I don't want something bad to happen. I'm not saying it won't work. I'm just saying we've got to do that study first. If that study works, we should be using it. Most of the drugs we use in chemotherapy are natural products.

They are from plants and they are remarkable. They've been studied. We know how to give them when to give them and we know exactly the quantitative benefit we get and how to manage their side effects. When we combine them with other things, it's crapshoot.