The main focus of this blog has been to discuss the scientific progress being made in the field of BHD Syndrome, whether that is in basic cell biology to understand the mechanism(s) of pathogenesis in this syndrome, or to discuss the testing or re-purposing of therapies.
Something that isn’t widely discussed in the scientific community is the quality and efficacy of alternative therapies utilised by cancer patients – whether it be alongside or instead of conventional therapies, or even as a last ditch effort at something different.
What even is the correct nomenclature for this practice? ‘Alternative’ therapy suggests it is another viable option whilst ‘complementary’ therapy infers it can peacefully co-exist with other forms of treatment; both these terms are used freely and interchangeably without an afterthought. If I am allowed to play devil’s advocate, what if it was called ‘clinically unproven but marginally accepted’ therapy?
Alternative therapies have their detractors and promoters but regardless of anyone’s opinion it is a widespread activity. Approximately 36% of cancer patients use some form of alternative therapy at some stage in their cancer journey. Some use these therapies more than others e.g. use by breast cancer patients is approximately 45% and use by prostate cancer patients is approximately 25%. Reasons for use vary and include symptom and side effect management, relaxation, patients playing an active role in their own treatment pathway or increasing aspects of their quality of life. I’d like to hear the views of BHD patients who have thought about, or do practice ‘alternative’ therapy.
Why? When? What? For how long? Has it worked? Is the promotion of alternative health strategies irresponsible? Conversely, is the neglect of this practice irresponsible and closed-minded?