open access

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Research paper
Published online: 2021-03-03
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Alternative therapies in cancer treatment — hope or threat? (qualitative research)

Krzysztof Czerwiński, Małgorzata Chmielewska
DOI: 10.5603/OCP.2021.0006

open access

Ahead of print
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2021-03-03

Abstract

Introduction. Oncological patients, subject to strong emotions, may find it difficult to critically evaluate the information they receive on the effectiveness of the treatment offered, and therefore are susceptible to alternative methods, often abandoning the therapy recommended by a physician. The aim of this study was to analyze the way information is communicated to cancer patients by people promoting an alternative therapy, the use of intravenous infusions of vitamin C. 

Material and methods. The research technique consisted of structured individual interviews conducted with Jerzy Zięba M.Eng. — author of the books: Hidden Therapies “What a doctor won’t tell you” part. 1 and 2, and with Dr Agnieszka Jagiełło-Gruszfeld — a clinician from the Warsaw Oncology Centre. The study was expanded by a review of the scientific literature on vitamin C therapy and factors influencing the behavior of patients with diagnosed cancer, including the sources of information they use. 

Results. There is a significant disproportion in the assessment of the effectiveness of vitamin C treatment made by people promoting alternative medicine and clinicians. Visible differences relate to the level of objectivity, legibility, as well as the frequency of information provided about unconventional cancer treatment methods. 

Conclusions. The obtained results indicate the need to increase the availability of information provided directly by physicians about the dangers of inappropriate treatments for cancer patients. In diagnostic and treatment procedures it is important to be aware of the consequences of a specific method and the quality of the conversation between the physician and the patient about alternative therapies, as it may determine the patient’s decision to choose a treatment.

Abstract

Introduction. Oncological patients, subject to strong emotions, may find it difficult to critically evaluate the information they receive on the effectiveness of the treatment offered, and therefore are susceptible to alternative methods, often abandoning the therapy recommended by a physician. The aim of this study was to analyze the way information is communicated to cancer patients by people promoting an alternative therapy, the use of intravenous infusions of vitamin C. 

Material and methods. The research technique consisted of structured individual interviews conducted with Jerzy Zięba M.Eng. — author of the books: Hidden Therapies “What a doctor won’t tell you” part. 1 and 2, and with Dr Agnieszka Jagiełło-Gruszfeld — a clinician from the Warsaw Oncology Centre. The study was expanded by a review of the scientific literature on vitamin C therapy and factors influencing the behavior of patients with diagnosed cancer, including the sources of information they use. 

Results. There is a significant disproportion in the assessment of the effectiveness of vitamin C treatment made by people promoting alternative medicine and clinicians. Visible differences relate to the level of objectivity, legibility, as well as the frequency of information provided about unconventional cancer treatment methods. 

Conclusions. The obtained results indicate the need to increase the availability of information provided directly by physicians about the dangers of inappropriate treatments for cancer patients. In diagnostic and treatment procedures it is important to be aware of the consequences of a specific method and the quality of the conversation between the physician and the patient about alternative therapies, as it may determine the patient’s decision to choose a treatment.

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Keywords

alternative medicine; alternative therapies; vitamin C; oncology; cancer patients; health information quality; decision making; choice of treatment

About this article
Title

Alternative therapies in cancer treatment — hope or threat? (qualitative research)

Journal

Oncology in Clinical Practice

Issue

Ahead of print

Article type

Research paper

Published online

2021-03-03

DOI

10.5603/OCP.2021.0006

Keywords

alternative medicine
alternative therapies
vitamin C
oncology
cancer patients
health information quality
decision making
choice of treatment

Authors

Krzysztof Czerwiński
Małgorzata Chmielewska

References (14)
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