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Public illness: how the community recommended complementary and alternative medicine for a prominent politician with cancer

Citation

Lowenthal, RM, Public illness: how the community recommended complementary and alternative medicine for a prominent politician with cancer, Medical Journal of Australia, 183, (11/12) pp. 576-579. ISSN 0025-729X (2005) [Refereed Article]

Abstract

• When a prominent Australian politician, the then Premier of Tasmania, The Honourable Jim Bacon, publicly announced in February 2004 that he had lung cancer, he was inundated with well-wishing communications sent by post, email and other means. They included 157 items of correspondence recommending a wide variety of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs). • The most common CAMs recommended were meditation, Chinese medicine, "glyconutrients", juices, Laetrile and various diets and dietary supplements. • Although proof of benefit exists or promising preliminary laboratory studies have been carried out for a small number of the recommendations, no scientific evaluation has been performed for most of these treatments. Their potential benefits and harms are not known. Several recommendations were for treatments known to be useless, harmful or fraudulent. • Bacon's experience suggests that cancer patients may receive unsolicited advice to adopt one or more forms of CAM. Both patients and practitioners need access to authoritative evidence-based information about the benefits and dangers of CAMs.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Medical and Health Sciences
Research Group:Oncology and Carcinogenesis
Research Field:Oncology and Carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions)
Objective Field:Cancer and Related Disorders
Author:Lowenthal, RM (Professor Ray Lowenthal)
ID Code:36155
Year Published:2005
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Medicine (Discipline)
Deposited On:2005-08-01
Last Modified:2006-06-21
Downloads:0

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