Oncologists & Naturopaths Nutrition Beliefs & Practices

ABSTRACT: Oncologists' and Naturopaths' Nutrition Beliefs and Practices

Purpose: Despite the widespread use of complementary and alternative therapies by persons with cancer, little is known about how the understandings of complementary and alternative practitioners of these therapies compare with those of conventional physicians.

The broad purpose of this research was, thus, to explore the beliefs of physicians and complementary and alternative health practitioners, their use of scientific and other types of evidence, and their counseling practices.

The specific issue addressed was the beliefs and practices of oncologists and naturopaths regarding the role of diet in breast cancer prevention and treatment.

Results: The oncologists believed that there is little evidence of a role for diet in breast cancer prevention and treatment, citing the lack of evidence from randomized controlled trials. They reported that they provide only general advice on healthy eating to patients. The naturopaths believed that diet is strongly implicated in breast cancer development, prevention, and treatment.

They justified this belief by using scientific evidence from a variety of types of studies, logic or common sense, and their clinical experiences.

Naturopaths reported that they provide patients with specific suggestions for foods to avoid or to emphasize in diets.

Clinical implications: The differences in the advice provided by oncologists and naturopaths are associated with different decision-making or knowledge construction systems. Educating patients about these differences will help patients to make more informed healthcare choices.

[05/01/2001; Cancer Practice]

Comments from DS, a cancer patient/advocate

Patients must "stay vigilant and follow the researh"

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