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The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 15, 4th Quarter 2000


Vitamin C as Cancer Therapy: An Overview


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The popularity of complementary/al- ternative therapies (CAM) is an international phenomenon with 25% of UK residents,' 50% of the German, French1, and Australian populations, and 42-69% of Americans using these approaches." CAM ias been a major growth industry in Europe, and that trend is mirrored in the United Staes. Since 1990, prevalence of use increased 33.8% and visits to CAM practitioners rose 47.3% from 427 to 629 million, with out-of-pocket estimates at $34.4 billion. Among cancer patients, however, prevalence of use is upwards of50%9-11 and most of that use is in combination with conventional therapies. A summary of research on CAM use for cancer across 13 countries estimated prevalence of use at 31.4% (range 7-64%).

In Canada, an estimated 129,200 new cancer diagnoses and 62,700 deaths are expected for 1998. Since 1988, the incidence rate has increased by one-third. Similarly, the mortality rate has increased by one- fifth. In the United States, approximately one-third of Americans living today, almost 75 million, will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.14 During 1997, over 1.4 million individuals received a cancer diagnosis, 1500 died daily, and 7.4 million were living with a history of cancer. The direct medical, morbidity, and mortality costs of cancer for our nation were estimated at $104 billion.

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