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Unproven cancer therapy

Unproven cancer therapy is a broad term describing conventional, alternative, and complementary treatments for cancer which have not been approved by a governing body (for instance, the United States Food and Drug Administration) as being effective.

Such therapies can be categorized broadly into three groups:

  1. New cancer treatments proposed or in clinical trials by establishment oncologists or scientists but not yet proven effective, or not proven effective in a particular situation. As a result of such trials, these therapies are ultimately proven effective or ineffective.
  2. Unproven cancer treatments that are offered by unorthodox practitioners as an alternative to mainstream cancer treatment. Practitioners of such therapies often operate outside the regulatory sphere of the FDA and do not seek its approval.
  3. Unorthodox treatments offered as a complement to scientifically based treatment rather than as a substitute, often primarily for comfort or palliation of symptoms.


Medical science has made major advances in the treatment of cancer, from the development of chemotherapy in the 1940s through the recognition of the importance of adjuvant therapy and the development of newer targeted therapies. Nonetheless, cancer remains a common and all too often incurable disease, and the side effects of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments can range from unpleasant to potentially fatal.

Therefore, the field of cancer treatment is fertile ground for the use of unproven therapies. Unproven pharmaceutical treatments for cancer are aggressively investigated in clinical trials, and a large number of unregulated alternative therapies have developed.

Examples of unproven therapies

Cancer therapies such as these are generally considered to be unproven or disproven for their effect on the cancer itself. Some of these may offer substantial emotional or comfort care benefits to receptive patients.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Unproven_cancer_therapy". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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