Being diagnosed with cancer is a harrowing and emotional experience. Naturally, most people set out with the mindset to win the battle whether it’s through traditional practices or alternative medicine.
Most alternative and complementary cancer therapies have their merits. But there is also a haze of doubt around the safety of these treatments.
To learn more about whether to consider alternate treatments for cancer, read on for more.
Alternate Treatments for Cancer Vs. Complementary Therapies
First thing’s first, it’s important to understand the difference between alternate and complementary treatments:
- Alternate therapy: these treatments are used instead of conventional medical treatment
- Complementary therapy: these treatments are used in conjunction with conventional medical therapies
When it comes to improved survival rates, the results are largely anecdotal. In other words, there is no real, solid evidence to support that these treatments can increase survival rates. However, these therapies can help people feel better and cope with the treatment of cancer.
To add to this, a natural treatment for leukemia may not work the same for breast cancer or prostate cancer. Results, efficacy, and survival rate is very personal.
What to Consider When Choosing Alternate Treatment
A cancer diagnosis is extremely frightening. Most people’s natural reaction is to tackle cancer with every available resource they have. While some people may want to avoid conventional medicine, hospitals, and doctors and try to treat themselves at home.
If you’re part of the latter group, there are a few things to consider about alternate or natural therapies for cancer.
Most alternative cancer treatments focus on taking supplemental medicines. However, the FDA does not regulate these products. That means that there is no proven evidence of their efficacy or whether they meet regulatory standards.
What Do Studies Say?
Research has analyzed over two million cancer patients across the U.S. These patients include those with cancer in the breast, colon, lung, and prostate.
The study compared those who received conventional treatment and holistic cancer treatment.
The findings of this study reveal a sobering reality. Those who received alternative cancer treatments did not live as long. In fact, just 82% of these patients survived for 5-years. Compared to almost 90% of those who used conventional treatments.
Due to a delay or refusal of conventional treatment, this resulted in a higher rate of death.
However, this is not to say that alternative therapies are not beneficial or completely useless. Only more research is crucial to prove its worth. The reality is that many alternative treatments are not studied enough.
There aren’t enough studies on the interaction between conventional and holistic cancer treatment, either. Many medical professionals believe that the combination of both could be dangerous.
Complementary Therapies for Cancer That Could Help
If complementary therapies appeal to you, always consult your doctor first. Work with your medical team to come up with the right balance between conventional and complementary therapy.
Bear in mind that complementary therapies can help you feel better and live a happier day-to-day life. But they can’t necessarily cure your cancer.
Some of the most common symptoms of battling cancer include:
- Anxiety — massage, meditation, and relaxation techniques can help
- Fatigue — massage, yoga, and light exercise can help
- Nausea and vomiting — hypnosis, acupuncture, aromatherapy, and herbal remedies can help
- Pain — massage, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and hypnosis can help
- Stress — light exercise, yoga, relaxation techniques, and meditation can help
- Sleep issues — light exercise, meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques can help
What to expect from each type of treatment:
Acupuncture is an ancient practice with roots in Chinese medicine. Acupuncture involves tiny, sterile needles that a therapist inserts just under the skin. They target certain pressure points throughout the body. Acupuncture results in increased blood flow, reduction of muscle tension, joint pain, relaxation, and more.
Bear in mind that acupuncture is not safe if you have a low blood count or take blood-thinning medication.
This type of therapy uses fragrant oils to help you relax. Aromatherapy oils use scents such as lavender to help ease tension, mitigate nausea, and increase calmness.
These fragrant oils can be used during massage, added to your bathwater, or added to a room diffuser. If you suffer from estrogen-sensitive cancer, such as breast cancer, avoid excessive amounts of lavender or tea tree oil.
Yes, some people may have their doubts about hypnosis. But it can be beneficial for relaxation, reducing stress, and managing pain levels.
Essentially, hypnosis is a deep state of concentration. It should always be carried out by a hypnosis therapist. It is often used to help cancer patients control pain levels, reduce anxiety, and prevent anticipatory nausea.
Meditation is similar to hypnosis in that you focus on your mind intently on one image or thought to relax or reduce stress. Meditation is extremely helpful when cancer symptoms cause pain, nausea, stress, or major anxiety.
Ideally, you should pair meditation with deep breathing and relaxation techniques. The point of this is to calm your mind and muscles by focusing on the mind-muscle connection. Relaxation techniques involved visualization, breathing exercises, and progressive muscle relaxation.
Massage is a great way to ease muscle pain and tension by kneading the muscles and tendons. Massage also helps to improve relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and even fight fatigue.
However, it’s important to work with an experienced massage therapist who is well-versed in treating cancer patients. It’s important to avoid deep tissue massage if you have low blood count or any type of bone cancer. Remember to avoid areas of scarring, radiation treatment, and tumors.
Yoga and Light Exercise
Yoga incorporates dynamic movement, stretching exercises, and deep breathing. It’s a brilliant way to ease stress, tension, and anxiety.
You can also fire up your muscles without putting too much strain on the body. If you’re fatigued or low on energy, yoga, and other forms of light exercise are perfect for mental clarity.
Take Back Control of Your Health and Wellness
Remember that alternate treatments for cancer are not always guaranteed to be effective. It’s crucial that you openly discuss your options with a doctor when deciding on your level of treatment and potential survival rate. Ask your medical team for the truth and their best advice.
If you’re looking for more on health and wellness, be sure to check out the rest of this site. We offer topics on how to get your health back on track to live a long and happy life.