Thursday, 22 September 2016

Do alternative cancer treatments work?

Do alternative cancer treatments work?
Complementary or alternative medical therapies are remedies that lie outside what is traditionally considered conventional medical treatment for cancer. These include the use of herbal, vitamin, and nutritional supplements, as well as physical and psychological interventions such as exercise, relaxation, massage, prayer, hypnotherapy, and acupuncture. These therapies are used to enhance physical and emotional strength during and after mainstream cancer treatment. They are non invasive and evidence based therapies that have been subjected to study to determine their value and document the problems they aim to ameliorate. Unfortunately, they lack scientific evidence of safety and efficacy. The practice of integrative oncology combines the helpful complementary therapies with mainstream oncology care to address patients' physical, psychological and spiritual needs.
There are many alternative treatments for cancer. These treatments can usually be combined to increase the effectiveness of protocols.  For example, mind body modalities focus on interactions between the brain, mind, body and behavior with the intention of reducing symptoms and promoting health. Some of these therapies, such as meditation, relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy, yoga, Tai Chi and music therapy have very ancient roots. The common goal of mind body therapies is to reduce the effects of anxiety, resentment, depression and pain on the patient while promoting a sense of emotional, physical and spiritual well being. Mind body therapies do not treat cancer but they help with the symptoms. Many trials of good quality have been conducted to show the benefits of these techniques. These helpful complementary modalities can be used as part of a multidisciplinary approach for the patient care.
Complementary or alternative medicine is a topic that patients with cancer are highly interested in but also find quite confusing. Safe and beneficial complementary therapies should be integrated into regular cancer care to improve patient quality of life. However, patients should be steered away from alternative cancer therapies that are risky and do not have clinical value. Integrative oncology combines complementary therapies with mainstream care, trying to optimize the patient’s physical, psychological and spiritual well-being, taking into consideration the individual’s values and priorities in life. The conventional cancer treatment system and the pharmaceutical companies that control it are dedicated to limiting the development of all other forms of cancer treatment. The reason is that most alternative cancer treatments are much less expensive than surgery, radiation, and chemo. They are also more effective and have many fewer unwanted side effects.

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