Why placebos for chemotherapy side effects are hard to swallow

It’s unthinkable to give a placebo to someone to treat their cancer, but could we use one to treat chemotherapy’s well-known side effects? Unfortunately, we may never be able to answer this question because...

What is chemotherapy and how does it work?

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to treat cancer in humans and animals. It is rarely used in isolation and is often paired with surgery, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, or a combination of these. Chemotherapy works...

What is cancer immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is treatment that boosts the body’s immune system by producing more infection-fighting agents, such as white blood cells and antibodies, to help fight disease. While it may seem a modern idea, its use in cancer treatment can...

In sickness and in health: how marriage helps cancer patients

A growing body of research evidence shows being married greatly increases patients’ chances of being cured of cancer. But while there’s a clear link between marriage status and treatment outcome, the benefit is likely...

Spot the snake oil: telling good cancer research from bad

Cancer is big news; we often hear of some kind of cure for some version of the illness. But whether it’s a “natural cure” or a promising molecule on its way to becoming a...

Health Check: can sex affect your risk of getting cancer?

The sex act has many health benefits from reducing stress and tension, to boosting your immune system. It may even affect your risk of developing certain cancers. But as with most matters health, how sex and cancer...

Nutraceuticals are often big on promise but fail to deliver

Extracts from a berry can improve the effectiveness of a chemotherapy drug, according to research published today in the Journal of Clinical Pathology. But it’s best to view this finding with caution because while nutraceuticals (foods...

Red meat’s a tasty treat but too much can give you cancer

There are many good reasons to eat red meat, including as a source of protein and iron, but having too much of the stuff significantly increases your risk of cancer. Recent research from China has found that...

Smoking or eating marijuana is not a cure for cancer

There’s a modern myth that marijuana (cannabis sativa), in its natural form, is effective at both preventing and treating cancer. This myth has become ever more popular with the gradual approval of marijuana for recreational use in many...

Complementary medicines may put cancer patients’ lives at risk

Recent German research found that more than 70% of people with cancer supplement their regular hospital treatment with complementary and alternative medicine. More worryingly, many do so without advising their doctor. This is important because interactions of...
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