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Alternative cancer treatment clinics

Alternative cancer treatment clinics offer cancer treatments that are not part of conventional medicine. Information about them is widely available on the internet. There is not enough reliable evidence to support the use of many of the treatments these clinics offer.

Summary

  • Alternative clinics offer treatments that are not part of conventional medicine.
  • There are many alternative clinics in Mexico, some in Europe.
  • Many of the treatments offered are not backed up by research.
  • Alternative therapies can be costly and have life-threatening side effects.

What are alternative therapies?

The terms alternative therapies and complementary therapies do not mean the same thing. They both mean treatments that are not part of conventional medicine. But there is an important difference between alternative therapies and complementary therapies.

Alternative therapies

People who use alternative therapies have stopped using conventional medical treatment. Some people may choose not to try conventional treatments at all.

Some alternative therapists claim that they can cure your cancer with their treatments. Sometimes even if conventional medical treatments can't cure you. There is no scientific evidence that alternative therapies can treat people with cancer.

There is very little research on alternative therapies. So there is not enough scientific evidence to tell us whether they are any help at all. Tests on some have shown they do not work. But there are still claims that they can cure cancer.

Complementary therapies

People use complementary therapies alongside conventional medical treatments. So, you can use them while you carry on with your treatment programme. They aim to ease stress and improve physical and psychological wellbeing. Examples of complementary therapies include:

  • massage
  • acupuncture
  • visualisation
  • reflexology

There are many different types of complementary therapies. People with cancer use the treatments for various reasons.

A professional therapist will not claim that their therapy will treat or cure your cancer. They will encourage you to discuss treatments with your cancer doctor or GP.

Why people with cancer use it

There are many different types of alternative therapy clinics in Mexico and Europe. We don’t have exact details of all the therapies they offer. A few examples of those advertised on the internet or in the media include:

  • laetrile
  • chelation
  • issels treatment
  • nutritional therapy such as the Gerson diet
  • high dose vitamins and dietary supplements
  • metabolic therapy – a program developed to train the immune system to get rid of your cancer
  • oxygen therapies
  • hydrotherapy
  • hyperthermia (high temperature therapy)

Many of the clinics offer a package of care that may involve using a combination of treatments. Often the package of care sounds very attractive. The clinics advertised it as relaxing and caring. They promise that you will have individual care, and the clinic will usually say that they can help you.

There are reports of people with cancer leaving these clinics very happy with their care. Some claim that the treatment cured their cancer. But we have no evidence to prove this.

Side effects

Some people have had severe and life-threatening side effects from the treatments. People with advanced cancers are most at risk of not being able to cope with side effects of the treatments. Many go to the clinics in a poor state of health and desperate for help.

Talk with your cancer doctor if you are using or thinking of using an alternative therapy. Some complementary and alternative therapies may interfere with conventional cancer treatments. This could harm your health.

How much it costs

Many of the alternative cancer treatments offered cost a lot of money. Remember that you will have to pay for flights and accommodation as well as the treatment. The treatment costs can sometimes be thousands of pounds per month.

The actual costs will depend on the type of alternative treatment you have and on how long you carry on with it.

Alternative therapy clinics sell treatments for a great deal of money. And people with cancer can be very vulnerable. It is understandable that you or your relatives will want to try anything that might work. But some of these treatments can be money-making businesses. They target people who are ill and very vulnerable. This is not ethical.

A word of caution

There are several alternative care clinics and hospitals. Many are in northern Mexico along the US border. They offer a wide range of cancer treatments. They say that their treatments work and can cure cancer. Some of these treatments are very difficult to find in any other country.

The US medical system tries to convince people against the dangers of therapies in Mexico. Many have no scientific evidence to say that they are safe or even work. But some people with cancer might still choose to go there and use them.

Mexican healthcare laws are very different to those in countries such as the USA and Europe. Mexico is less strict in their regulations than other countries. So, clinics can offer alternative cancer treatments despite it having no scientific evidence showing it works. This is a problem and may cause many people with cancer a lot of harm.

The internet has become a major source of information for everyone. It can be an easy way of finding information about cancer therapies. But anyone can write information or advertise treatments about healthcare on the internet. So it is easy to write about using an unproven alternative cancer therapy.

It is understandable that you might want to try anything if you think it might help treat or cure your cancer. Only you can decide whether to use alternative cancer therapy.

You could harm your health if you stop your cancer treatment for an unproven treatment.

Many websites promote alternative therapy as a cure for cancer. But no reputable scientific cancer organisations support any of these claims. Be cautious about believing this type of information.

Last reviewed: 
20 Nov 2018
  • We looked at many websites when creating this information but they are advertising cancer clinics and contain misleading information. So we have not included these references or links on our site.

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