Unconventional cancer treatments

Office of Technology Assessment
Record ID 31996008333
Authors' objectives:

To examine what is known about the content of unconventional cancer treatments and their potential effectiveness, about who uses them, and to identify relevant policy concerns. Treatments covered include: psychological and behavioral, nutritional, herbal, and pharmacologic and biologic.

Authors' results and conclusions: Insufficient information exists to evaluate fully virtually any of the unconventional treatments being used and there is no forum for rational discussion of unconventional treatments in the U. S. Many unsupportable claims are made for their effectiveness. It is relatively easy for patients to find out how to get access to unconventional treatments, through the media, health food stores, and personal contacts. The relevant government agencies provide basically negative information about these treatments, but are not always well-informed about the details of the treatments.
Authors' recommendations: Options include: 1) Broadening the information base on use of unconventional treatments by studying the people who use them and the extent to which they are used; 2) Government gathering and making available information on unconventional treatments and practitioners; 3) Improving information on the efficacy and safety of unconventional treatments by mandating the National Cancer Institute to examine and facilitate other's examination of treatments, facilitating "best case series" of unconventionally treated patients, funding evaluations of such treatments, creating a reporting system for remissions after unconventional treatment, and creating a reporting system for adverse event reporting after unconventional treatment; and 4) Making available information on legal sanctions against practitioners and health fraud related to unconventional treatments. Other output or dissemination activity: The report was one impetus to starting the Office of Alternative Medicine at NIH, and was the basis for NCI providing explicit guidance for studies to unconventional practitioners.
Authors' methods: Review
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 1990
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: United States
MeSH Terms
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Neoplasms
  • Phytotherapy
Organisation Name: U. S. Congress. Office of Technology Assessment
Copyright: Office of Technology Assessment
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.