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October 3, 1977

Unproved Cancer RemediesA Survey of Use in Pediatric Outpatients

Author Affiliations

From the College of Pharmacy, University of Houston (Ms Faw and Dr Ballentine); the Departments of Pharmacy Services (Dr Ballentine) and Pediatrics (Dr vanEys), University of Texas System Cancer Center, M. D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute; and the Department of Pharmacy Services, Sam Houston Memorial Hospital (Ms Ballentine).

JAMA. 1977;238(14):1536-1538. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280150106041

Sixty-nine patients or parents of patients were interviewed during a five-week period. Each interviewee was given a questionnaire listing commonly recommended unproved drugs, diets, and miscellaneous treatments, and was instructed to respond to each remedy as follows: Have you tried it? Have you considered trying it? Has it been recommended by someone else?

Six patients (8.7%) had tried at least one unproved remedy, four (5.8%) considered trying some other remedy, and recommendations to seek other remedies had been made to 17 patients (24.6%).

Laetrile and assistance from faith healers were the remedies named most frequently.

(JAMA 238:1536-1538, 1977)