ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT — A woman receives a facial while she relaxes at the Visaya Spa, FCC Angkor. Some cancer patients choose to supplement traditional cancer treatments with alternative therapies. (Photo Matthew Wakem)
Alternative cancer treatments may be option for some
There is no one-size-fits-all
approach to treating cancer. Just as individuals react differently to the news of a cancer diagnosis so too are the treatments available.
It is important to know the various treatment options available and to discuss them with your health care practioner.
Traditional components of cancer treatment include a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, though many people opt to avoid these treatments or supplement them with alternative therapies. The Mayo Clinic warns that, while some complementary and alternative cancer treatments can be safe, the efficacy of others is unproven, and some such treatments may actually be dangerous. It is important that people who have been diagnosed with cancer properly investigate each treatment, discussing each with their physicians as well.
Below are some cancer treatments that those diagnosed with the disease may come across in their research.
• Research or investigational treatments: These treatments are still being studied in clinical trials and some may have benefits that outweigh the side effects. Volunteers may be able to try these treatments, according to the American Cancer Society.
• Dietary changes: Dietary changes, such as switching to organic, plant-based food, raw juices and natural supplements, may strengthen the body’s ability to heal itself. This is the basis behind plans like the Gerson Therapy and the Budwig Protocol.
• Massage therapy: Massage therapy can help alleviate anxiety, fatigue, pain, sleep problems, and stress. Massage also can be a helpful practice to add to any cancer treatment regimen.
• Acupuncture: According to The Mayo Clinic, studies show that acupuncture may help to relieve nausea caused by chemotherapy. Acupuncture also may lessen pain.
• Yoga/meditation: Many people find that deep breathing and meditation associated with yoga can help to relieve stress, calm nerves and create a relaxing environment. Stretching and light exercise can be beneficial as well.
Alternative therapies may be part of an overall cancer treatment, whether they’re used in conjunction with treatments or in place of chemotherapy and radiation.