A new study carried out by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, has found that human cancer patients who use alternative medicine are up to 5.7 times more likely to die early than those who use conventional medicine.

Researchers studied 840 patients with breast, prostate, lung or colorectal cancer. 280 patients that had received only alternative medicine were matched to 560 control patients who chose conventional cancer therapy.

Overall, cancer patients who used alternative medicine were 2.5 times more likely to die within a 5 year period than those who chose conventional cancer therapy.

However, people with breast cancer were 5.7 times more likely to die in the same period if they used alternative medicine rather than conventional medicine.

This evidence flies in the face of the British Association of Veterinary Homeopathic Veterinary Surgeons' claim that homeopathy cures cancer.

But more importantly, one of the main reasons why practitioners in both human and veterinary medicine so often acquiesce to their patients' use of alternative medicine is because of the perception that they do no harm. After all, homeopathy is only water, right?

This study provides perhaps the first evidence that the reverse may be true. That if you do not actively deter clients from using discredited forms of alternative medicine, you may be allowing them to sentence themselves, or rather their dog, to an early death.