Cancer patients have several choices to make when it comes to choosing a cancer treatment option. Some of the common treatment options recommended by doctors include chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
However, that’s not all. Some doctors also recommend complementary and alternative medicine, also known as CAM or alternative cancer treatment.
Cancer patients use alternative treatment methods to:
- Cope with the side effects of standard cancer treatment methods
- Make them feel like they are doing something with their condition
- Manage stress and worries caused by cancer and the respective treatment methods
Please note that alternative cancer treatment methods don’t work for anyone. So, before choosing any complementary treatment method, make sure that you consult with your doctor to make sure that it can work together with your standard cancer treatment. That said, let’s look at the different cancer treatment methods that you can start with.
This is a fairly new cancer treatment method, which uses medication to boost the patient’s immune system so that they can fight cancer. One thing with immunotherapy is that it works across different types of cancer, and can even treat the most advanced or hard-to-treat cancers.
Doctors say that immunotherapy has paved the way for more and better treatment options for most patients. Besides, they predict that it will be in the frontline for treating certain cancer patients. The good thing with immunotherapy is that patients don’t lose their hair. Besides, they don’t experience nausea. Immunotherapy has minimal side effects if any on cancer patients.
However, some patients complain that they have experienced some side effects. This, however, depends on the drug used, as well as the type of cancer being treated. Generally, doctors administer immunotherapy via an IV infusion.
The professionals at Euromed Foundation, Cancer Treatment Center say that immunotherapy gives cancer patients with advanced-stage cancers an option they didn’t have before—which allows them to live longer than expected. For instance, doctors have a better alternative to treat melanoma—thanks to immunotherapy. In fact, the use of different immunotherapies to melanoma has allowed the patients to stay alive for many years.
This alternative cancer treatment method involves the use of fragrant oils, which provide the patient with a relaxing feeling. Oils, blended with scents like lavender can be applied to a patient’s skin during massage therapy or added to bathwater. Also, a patient can heat fragrant oils to release their aromas into the air. This CAM is most used by cancer patients to relieve pain, stress, and nausea.
Aromatherapy can be administered by a medical practitioner or a patient can administer it on their own. Besides, it’s very safe, with minimal side effects, even though some patients complain about allergic reactions on their skins. Also, patients with estrogen-sensitive cancer, like certain breast cancers, should avoid applying excessive amounts of tea tree oil or lavender oil to their skins.
Also known as watchful waiting, active surveillance might be the treatment that you need for your cancer. Your doctor can recommend active surveillance if you have a cancer that’s at an early stage, or one that’s growing very slowly or that’s not growing at all.
For instance, your doctor can recommend active surveillance if you have prostate cancer, as it grows very slowly. The doctor can monitor your prostate-specific antigen (PSA) through blood tests, and then monitor your symptoms over a period of time. Your doctor can then discuss additional treatment options with you if your symptoms worsen or tests show that your cancer has started to progress rapidly.
Generally, patients who receive active surveillance have minimal or no symptoms and can proceed with their normal activities as usual. Doctors can also recommend active surveillance to patients seeking a break from standard cancer treatment methods like radiation and chemotherapy, or those who have exhausted other treatment options.
The practitioners from Arizona Homeopathic and Integrative Medical Association agree that supportive care is one of the most effective complementary treatment options for patients undergoing standard cancer treatment. Supportive care helps to minimize the emotional and physical stress that patient’s experience during their cancer treatment programs.
Massage and psychotherapy, for instance, can help patients manage their anxiety while coping with diagnosis and treatment. Acupuncture, on the other hand, is very effective for pain relief. Also, patients can go through nutritional counseling, as this can prevent them from losing weight during their treatment. Besides, good nutrition ensures that patients retain healthy bodies during and after their treatment.
Exercising can help patients manage symptoms during and after completing their treatment. Some gentle exercises are very effective in relieving stress and fatigue and can help patients sleep better. Numerous studies have shown that exercise programs can help cancer patients live longer and even have a better-quality life.
However, if you have not been exercising often, consult with your doctor first before joining an exercise program. And, when you start your program, start slowly—and then add more exercises as your muscles open up. Your aim should be to exercise for at least 30 minutes, three times a week.
As said earlier, alternative cancer treatments complement standard treatment methods, as they help patients in managing the effects of cancer treatment. So, if you want to have an easier and more comfortable life when undergoing cancer treatment, consider any of the above cancer treatment methods.