Cancer patients who are using alternative therapies may be doing more harm, says the Cancer Council Australia, and in some cases may claim their lives.

Professor Ian Olver, who heads Cancer Council Australia said these treatments could be poisonous and interact negatively with conventional forms of medicine.

A new study has shown that more than 50 per cent of male cancer patients use ”complementary and alternative medicines” while receiving
chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

The professor said:”We need to educate the public … They need to be able to ask what the
evidence base is and talk to their doctors about it.”

He told The Age he knew of one patient who became a paraplegic due to shonky healers, and some choose not to use radiotherapy and chemotherapy that could potentially save their lives.

Although therapies such as yoga and meditation are harmless, he advises patients to speak to their doctors before undertaking any forms of alternative medicines.