Alternative therapies are different from complementary therapies. They are used instead of conventional medical treatments. They may claim to actively treat or even cure cancer. But there is no scientific proof to back up these claims.
No alternative therapies have ever been proven to cure cancer or slow its growth.
There have been cases where false claims about alternative therapies have led some people to refuse conventional treatments that could have helped them. No reputable alternative therapist will claim to be able to cure cancer.
Alternative therapies are sometimes very cleverly marketed. This means that when you read about them or are told about them, they sound very effective. Therapists may use scientific language to make their claims sound more convincing. But many are based on unproven or disproven theories of how cancer begins or stays in the body.
Claims may be based on the therapy’s results when it is tested on cancer cells in a laboratory. But this can differ greatly from how the therapy will affect a person with cancer. Claims that an alternative therapy has an anti-cancer action in the laboratory do not mean it will have any effect on someone with cancer.
Very few suppliers of alternative medicines have carried out scientifically-controlled clinical trials for their products. Many alternative therapies rely on individuals’ stories or testimonials as evidence that they work. This is called anecdotal evidence and is the least reliable type of evidence. This is because it is usually not possible to check whether the effect described is due to the treatment or something else. It is also not possible to check that the person’s story is true, or that the person even existed or had cancer.