While there is no known cure for cancer, there are a number of treatment options available to patients. The most common medically recognized treatment options available today are chemotherapy, tumor removal surgery and radiation therapy. Although these treatments may be effective, they may cause adverse side effects including chest and body pain, nausea and vomiting, a weakened immune system, fatigue, loss of appetite, and overall discomfort. Receiving a probable course of the cancer and undergoing such treatments may also cause emotional distress.
Fortunately, natural complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) provides patients with additional measures to overcome cancer and even combat some of the symptoms of conventional medicine.
Among the many CAM treatments available to cancer patients are natural medicines that can be ingested, and/or injected, and many are sold over the counter as dietary supplements, such as various plant extracts, herbal teas, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, including:
· Astragalus, used in traditional Chinese medicine, is known to support and heal the body’s physical and emotional stress. It has even been linked to decrease chemotherapy symptoms and the development of malignant tumors.
· Vitamin C is an antioxidant, and recent scientific studies have suggested that in high doses it may prevent the growth of cancerous tumors and may help regulate the immune system.
· Celandine, a member of the poppy seed family, used in tea and as an extract may relieve pain, improve the immune system, and may inhibit the growth of tumors.
Mind and Body Medicine
Mind and body techniques promote overall well-being and may help patients cope with their diagnosis while providing ways to reduce symptoms of conventional cancer treatments. Some of these techniques include:
· Yoga may help alleviate pain associated with conventional cancer treatments. It can help improve breathing and promote relaxation, which is vital when experiencing emotional distress.
· Mediation is a way to relieve feelings of pain, stress and anxiety. When the body spends less time compensating for the health effects of stress, it can focus more on physically healing.
· Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese medicine involving the insertion of fine needles along energy points throughout the body, may help reduce pain, nausea, depression, stress, anxiety, and improve sleep and immune function.
Other mind and body practices that may be beneficial to cancer patients include massage therapy, homeopathy, Tai Chi, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Qi gong, Reiki and guided imagery.
As no two people are alike, no treatment affects everyone the same. Choose the best option for you and remember that no one knows your body better than you do. Do what feels right to you; just make sure to inform your physician before making complementary alternative medicine a part of your daily life.
Author bio: Kaitlyn Teabo is a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in writing, cancer research and emerging scientific technology to educate the mesothelioma community about asbestos and its related diseases.
What Is Complementary and Alternative Medicine? Retrieved from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam