Cam Therapies for Cancer
Complementary and Alternative Medicine is the term used for medical products and practices that do not fall into standard medical care. Complementary medicines are used alongside standard medical treatments while alternative medicines are used instead of the standard medical treatments.
Acupuncture and tai chi are examples of complementary medicine that are used alongside standard medical treatment to reduce some of the side effects of cancer treatment. Body based therapies, spirituality, hypnotherapy, visual imagery; meditation, yoga, and biofeedback are other examples of complementary treatment options. Dietary ACTs, Gerson regimen, macrobiotic diets, herbal medicines, and supplements are good examples of alternative cancer treatments. ACTs are often diet based and are used instead of standard/conventional medical practices.
Before a cancer patient begins the use of CAM treatment options, he needs to thoroughly investigate the safety of the treatment options. These treatments are considered safe because they originate from nature. However, there are some instances when these treatment options are unsafe for cancer patients. For instance, St. John’s wort, an herb, is used to treat depression but it might hamper the effectiveness of anticancer drugs in the body.
High doses of vitamins, including vitamin c, can affect how effective radiation and chemotherapy can be in the body. Herbal substances may also be detrimental to the cancer patient’s health when taken by themselves or in high doses, or with other substances. Kava kava is an herb that is used to treat depression and anxiety, but significant intake can result in liver damage.
Cancer patients who are considering CAM treatment options need to discuss with their doctors or nurses first. Some of these treatment options may conflict with the standard treatment or even cause more harm than good in the patient’s body. The patient needs to ask his doctor whether the CAM treatment option can do what it claims to do.