Alternative/Complementary use as a Cutoff Modifier

Whether the therapy is used as an alternative therapy (instead of conventional or experimental therapies) or as a complementary therapy (along with conventional/experimental therapies) greatly affects how much evidence you require to accept a therapy.

Alternative Therapies

If a therapy is used instead of conventional therapy then you are absolutely staking your life on it, and you are giving up any benefit the conventional therapy may have. You should require that there be clear evidence that the alternative is actually more effective than the best conventional therapy, so the cut-off value will depend on the value of the therapy you are giving up. (See "Efficacy of Standard Therapies" for more on this).

Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies are used with conventional therapy and in this case you are not giving up a proven therapy to use the complementary therapy so the risks are not as high, and you may not require as much evidence as you would for a primary therapy. So the cut-off value can be lower.

The main questions with complementary therapies are how they might synergism or interfere with your conventional therapy. (See "Synergism/Interference" for more on this).

This CancerGuide Page By Steve Dunn. Copyright 1999 Steve Dunn
Last Updated June 22, 1999