Can Alternative Treatments Cure Cancer?

By: Dzhingarov

Cancer patients frequently turn to complementary therapies for pain relief and fatigue management as well as spiritual or emotional support, yet some alternative treatments may interfere with standard medical therapy or have other adverse side effects. Can alternative treatments cure cancer? NO! There is no proof of that!

Be wary of treatments claiming to cure cancer. While “alternative” therapies might claim success, their safety remains unverified and some can even be potentially dangerous.

Acupuncture

Though no proof has been offered to demonstrate acupuncture’s efficacy against cancer, studies have demonstrated its ability to alleviate symptoms and side effects associated with chemotherapy treatments. Acupuncture treatments performed by certified practitioners are safe.

Acupuncture may help boost immune functions and slow tumor growth; however, more research needs to be conducted in this area to ascertain these benefits. Can alternative treatments cure cancer, like acupuncture? No!

One randomized clinical trial showed that acupuncture reduced nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy for breast cancer treatment in women. But this small and flawed research project needed further scrutiny.

Acupuncture has been shown to effectively treat anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, headaches, shingles, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sexually transmitted diseases. Furthermore, it may help alleviate pain caused by cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy; laboratory and animal studies demonstrate their usefulness in these instances.

Herbs

Some herbs may help alleviate side effects associated with cancer and cancer treatments, such as ginger to ease nausea and St John’s Wort to boost low mood, though there’s not sufficient evidence that they actually cure cancer – most research on these herbs has taken place either in test tubes or mice.

Some herbal medications may interfere with cancer treatments; St John’s wort can prevent imatinib (Glivec) from working correctly and some herbs may make you more sensitive to sunlight; it is therefore wise to inform your healthcare provider prior to taking any herbs.

Herbal remedies should never be seen as a replacement for mainstream treatments, so before making your decision to use herbal therapies it is advisable to speak to your oncologist first and discuss potential interactions or safer options with them.

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Massage

Massage therapy can be an invaluable therapy option for cancer patients, helping alleviate pain, relax muscles, and decrease nausea while strengthening the immune system.

Though little research exists supporting the benefits of massage therapy on cancer patients, some studies have found no discernable effects while others indicate it could reduce anxiety and enhance quality of life.

If you are considering getting a massage, first speak to your healthcare provider. They will let you know if there are any times it would be unsafe, such as during radiation therapy (which can cause skin breakdown) or if you have known blood clots (massage could dislodge them and lead to pulmonary embolism or cardiac arrest). When choosing who will perform the massage for you, consider someone with experience working with cancer patients; many hospitals and cancer centers employ specialists in this area.

Diet

Dietary changes can play an integral role in treating and preventing cancer. Eating a variety of foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans – is proven to lower cancer risks but there is no definitive diet that can cure cancer.

Well-meaning friends and relatives may offer unproven dietary treatments as suggestions that could prove effective or could even be harmful, which can be particularly distressful during times of distress. This may put undue pressure on patients who feel powerless.

Some people believe that certain foods can alter the acidity of the blood, thus stopping cancer cells from growing. They often subscribe to an alkaline diet – based on the belief that cancer cells cannot survive in an alkaline environment – however, our bodies work tirelessly to maintain stable pH levels regardless of what we consume.

Eating well throughout cancer treatment and beyond is of vital importance, from nutrition advice to special diets and supplements that may interact with conventional cancer therapies. Before undertaking any special diets or taking any new supplements, please discuss this with your doctor or oncologist first. Also, inform any naturopathic teams involved as certain may interfere with conventional cancer therapies.

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Exercise

An expanding body of research shows that physical exercise significantly lowers cancer risks, improves the quality of life, and supports recovery during and post-cancer treatments. Patients must find enjoyable activities they can stick with throughout their cancer treatments.

Substituting simple, low-impact workouts into your regular schedule can help ease cancer treatment fatigue and strengthen immunity. Exercise also has other health benefits including keeping weight under control as well as managing side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and pain.

Starting off is easy if you take small steps, such as walking. Tai chi and yoga provide great exercises that combine movement with meditation. In some instances, more structured programs may be necessary – these can often be found through community organizations, gyms, or hospitals.

Meditation

Meditation can help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, decrease pain and fatigue levels, boost energy levels, and support immune function – making it a key part of integrative cancer treatment plans. Before engaging in any meditative practices that include movement (especially those that include breathing exercises), make sure they’re safe given any physical limitations you may have.

Multiple research studies have demonstrated that people who regularly meditate experience changes in their brain structure, without direct correlation to cancer risk reduction. It has, however, been linked to improving mental health – including sleep quality, blood pressure and heart rate regulation, and cognitive abilities enhancement. Meditation can be done while sitting quietly or engaging in light activity (walking meditation for instance). Some practices use mantra repetition while others utilize visualization focusing on something such as colors or sounds such as breathing.