For many years, the three main cancer treatment standbys have included chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. While these are still three very effective methods for treating malignant tumors, many people are turning to clinical studies and complementary and alternative medicine for cancer. Complementary and alternative medicine, or CAM, consists of several different treatment methods to help you fight your disease.
Medical professionals divide CAM into two main categories. Complementary therapy is nonstandard cancer treatment that is used alongside traditional treatment, while alternative therapy is nonstandard treatment used in place of traditional methods. For instance, a person may choose complementary therapy to help them with their chemotherapy side effects. Chemo can cause nausea and vomiting, and rather than take a drug for that, patients may choose instead to drink peppermint tea or eat ginger. However, if religious beliefs or other reasons prevent you from participating in standard medicine, you can choose alternative treatment.
Although it may seem frightening to choose an unproven method of cancer treatment, some people choose CAM for several reasons, such as feeling in control, coping with standard treatment side effects, and due to personal beliefs regarding chemical-based medication. There are several different types of CAM that people utilize when they are dealing with cancer, including:
Biologically-based - nutrition supplements such as special vitamins, herbs, foods, and other diets
Energy medicine - movements and massage that tap into the body's energy sources for healing, like tai chi and reiki
Manipulative - body-based methods like reflexology, massage, and chiropractics
Mind-body connections - therapies to help the mind overcome the body, such as yoga, hypnosis, creative outlets, and meditation
Whole body - treatment to help the body heal itself, like homeopathy, acupuncture, and ayurvedic medicine
Of course, doctors warn patients that "natural" does not always equal "safe." This is especially true when using complementary therapy, as vitamins and herbal products may adversely react with chemotherapy or radiation. If you are facing cancer, you should talk to your doctor about your treatment options and any complementary therapy options you may wish to try.
Some aggressive cancers, such as mesothelioma, may make CAM seem more tempting. However, if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should make sure that you have as much information as possible regarding treatment before you proceed with this decision. For more information regarding mesothelioma and its treatment options, please visit the Mesothelioma Help Center today.