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Complementary Help for Cancer Patients from the NHS




In addition to providing helpful information for cancer patients and carers/relatives etc. concerning complementary treatments (also called adjuvants or nutriceuticals), we are working with the London-based cancer charity, Yes To Life, to get the best of these into the UK's NHS (National Health Service). This is not without precedent. Some nutriceuticals, such as mistletoe (used extensively in German and Swiss hospitals), can already be prescribed and obtained within the NHS. Other nutriceuticals can sometimes be funded by the NHS through your local Primary Care Trust (PCT). If you want to get funding in this way, you should apply through your GP. But – though worth a try – don't have high expectations of success, else you may feel downhearted if the request is turned down. The one certain thing the PCT will require before releasing any funds will be clinical evidence that the product or therapy you want will work.

To forestall an ill-considered refusal on the grounds that "there is no clinical evidence that complementary treatments work," you can point them to this website for further information and references on particular nutriceuticals or other treatments. Here are some examples of nutriceuticals that we think stand the best chance of being accepted:

  Avemar (immuno-booster and inhibitor of glucose metabolism in cancer cells)
  BioBran (immuno-booster)
  C-Statin / Imm-Kine (Anti-angiogenesis agents)
  Medicinal mushrooms (immuno-boosters)
  Ukrain (seemingly multi-action)

If you do get PCT funding, do let us know, as this may represent a precedent that will help others when applying for funding. Since it is probable that you will only get funding if the relevant nutriceuticals are prescribed and administered by a private specialist, you should also ask for funding to cover their consultation, medical testing and any other fees he or she may charge. To find a suitable cancer specialist, you could check our links under integrated medicine.

To further our aim of getting nutriceuticals into the NHS, you could also write to or email your MP. Below are some of the points worth covering, and you are welcome to incorporate any of what follows into your letter:

Say that you are a cancer patient, and that your research had led you to understand that there are many well-researched nutriceuticals or adjuvants to standard cancer treatments.

Point out that some of these adjuvants, when taken in conjunction with standard cancer treatment, as well as helping the patient get through the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, decrease the rate of recurrences and secondaries (metastases) by highly significant percentages.
Say that you have discovered that although a few of these, such as mistletoe (used extensively in German and Swiss hospitals), are available on NHS prescription, the majority are not.


Quote medicinal mushrooms as an example, quoting the 700-page report published by Cancer Research UK in May 2002, reviewing all the research to that date on the efficacy of medicinal mushrooms in boosting the immune response to cancer, and significantly raising the survival rates from single figures to well over 50% in some instances.
Quote Avemar as a second example, pointing out that in one clinical trial, recurrence rates and the incidence of secondary tumours dropped from 23.1% to 7.6% over a six-month period, when Avemar was used as an adjuvant to standard treatment.
Let your MP know that full references to these trials can be found on the website: www.self-helpcancer.org. Or copy the relevant web addresses directly into your letter. Or both.



Point out that nutriceuticals are many orders of magnitude cheaper than pharmaceuticals, and that quite apart from the increased quality of life and survival of cancer patients, it is self-evident that the use of such adjuvants would save the NHS huge sums of money in treating cancer recurrences.
Say that research surveys show that a high percentage of cancer patients resort to the use of various nutriceuticals to help them through standard cancer treatments.









Observe that the pending legislation regarding the use of nutriceuticals not only restricts the individual's democratic right to freedom of choice in matters of health, but may result in the unavailability of nutriceuticals that have been shown to enhance the quality of life and to increase survival rates among cancer patients. By thus increasing the recurrence rates and the burden on the NHS, the government is effectively shooting itself in the foot. (Note: Tory MPs have consistently argued against this legislation. So if you have a Tory MP, you could add something like, "This is something I am sure you would be only too happy to point out to the government!")
Request your MP to write to the Minister for Health on your behalf, making all the above points, sending a copy of all correspondence to yourself.


To find the name of your MP, telephone 020 7219 4274, or check online at www.locata.co.uk/commons. The information provided will probably include his or her email address.

Your MP's address is:

  (Your MP's name) MP
  House of Commons
  London
  SW1A 0AA


Copyright John Davidson, 2006

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