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The Perils of Taking Experimental Cancer Drugs

Volunteering to try a new, experimental cancer drug often does more harm than good, a new study shows.

Doctors often use drugs still undergoing testing, which means, essentially, that nobody really knows what the consequences of taking such drugs are. Many end up not offering any tremendous improvement -- and people who get such treatments may end up wishing they hadn’t.

Reuters reports:

“The new study ... looked at 172 clinical trials published over two years. Less than a third of the clinical trials showed the experimental drugs improved patient survival, and less than half found the drugs helped other clinical outcomes. Those numbers could even be too high, researchers say, because negative findings tend not to be published. On the other hand, two thirds of the trials reported increases in at least one severe or life-threatening side-effect.”

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