New Data Shows Popular Alternative Medicines Can Pose a Risk to Cancer Patients

“The ten most commonly asked about complementary medicines all interact with conventional treatments, potentially posing a threat to patient health and reaffirming the need for complementary or alternative therapies to be discussed between patients and their healthcare provider.

“The new research, being presented on December 3rd at the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia’s (COSA’s) Annual Scientific Meeting, reveals the 10 most commonly inquired about complementary medicines at Melbourne’s Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre all have predicted or actual drug interactions when taken with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or before surgery.

“The research involved an audit of inquiries to the hospital’s Medicines Information Centre from health providers and patients, over two years.

“The 10 most commonly inquired about products or supplements (excluding vitamins and minerals) were: fish oil, turmeric, coenzyme Q10, milk thistle, green tea, ginger, lactobacillus, licorice, astragalus and reishi mushroom.

“Lead researcher and Senior Pharmacist at Peter MacCallum’s Medicines Information Centre, Sally Brooks, said while levels of these substances found in a healthy diet were unlikely to cause contraindications, larger amounts in complementary medicines could.”