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Rules for alternative medicine

28th November 2006

Patients need more protection from the alternative medicine industry, says one of the country’s leading cancer experts.

John Waxman, a professor of oncology at Imperial College in London, wants to see more regulation to protect his cancer patients from ‘cynical’ exploitation of their hopes of recovery.

The conventional methods of treating cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormonal suppression, but four out of five cancer patients are thought to pursue alternative complementary treatments or dietary regime in the hope of treating their illness.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Professor Waxman said it was time for legislation to protect those vulnerable patients.

He said many food supplements should be reclassified as drugs so they would be forced to undergo closer scrutiny and regulation.

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