Alternative medicine is a form of medication used in place of the standard medical treatment. For instance, in cancer treatment, one may opt to use a special diet to treat cancer instead of using the drugs that the oncologist prescribes. The term for such medical practices and products that are not part of the standard medical treatment is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Cancer patients may use alternative medicine in the following ways;
- Coping with cancer treatment side effects such as fatigue, nausea, and pain
- Treating the cancer symptoms
- Ease cancer-related stress and anxiety, while comforting themselves that they are doing something worthy of their treatment
Should you trust it?
Such patients can use natural remedies to achieve the results above. Researchers have carefully analyzed and evaluated some of the alternative medications and proven them to be effective and safe for the patients. For instance, cancer patients can use yoga, acupuncture, meditation, among others. But some of the remedies that you can use may not be viable and may lead to negative effects after combining with your medicine.
Alternative medicine may include vitamins, dietary and herbal supplements. These supplements have a variety of nutritional and botanical products. Those who sell them to patients do not require approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Those who buy them do not have to get a prescription from the store and will most likely use them as often as they want to. But it is important to have the following in mind;
Herbal supplements may be harmful
Studies have shown that herbal supplements such as kava kava help in dealing with anxiety and stress. But when taken alone or in large doses, the supplements may lead to liver damage. According to the experts from the Alternative Cancer Treatment Center in Arizona, Euromed Foundation, some supplements that patients use to deal with depression may hinder some cancer drugs from functioning as they should.
Inform your doctor
If you are taking or intending to take any vitamins, herbal, or dietary supplements, it is important to inform your oncologist. The sellers may attempt to convince you that they are safe and show you that they have made numerous sales in the past. But none of that is proof enough that they will be safe and effective for you. This is even more important if you are under any medication.
Discuss your diet with your doctor
Cancer patients are prone to asking questions on the kind of diet they should take while undergoing treatment. Contrary to the opinion of many, there is no specific food or diet that has proven control over cancer. It is important to take an all-rounded approach by eating a variety of foods and ensuring you have a healthy diet. Your doctor will be able to advise on what is best to eat or avoid, during and after treatment. Ask about the therapy you intend to undertake and whether it will work as the sellers claim it will. This will help you avoid possible interference with the cancer medication or worse, more harm to your body tissues.
The practitioners from Arizona Homeopathic and Integrative Medical Association advise patients not to fear asking questions. Asking questions will enable you to know whether the alternative medication will work for you as stated. Doctors will also understand your worries and work towards giving you the best possible care. Alert them when you want to use alternative medicine and show them that you require their input. Ask questions like;
Which alternative medicine:
- Will alternative medication work and deal with cancer symptoms?
- Will help me handle the side effects of cancer medication?
- Will help me deal with fatigue?
- Will help reduce anxiety and depression?
So, what are the benefits of alternative medicine?
When used alongside standard medication, alternative medicine can speed your recovery and make your cancer treatment and recovery more comfortable. With that said, here are a few benefits of how alternative medicine can help you when recovering from cancer:
- Provides whole-body care – one thing with alternative medicine is that it doesn’t focus on your body only. It also focuses on your mind. So, unlike standard cancer treatment, alternative medicine can help you relax and deal with the side effects of standard treatment, which is an essential part of any recovery process.
- Personal attention – because alternative medicine focuses on the whole body, it’s more unique and personal. Your practitioner can spend more time assessing your spiritual, mental, and emotional health, in addition to your nutritional and other physical needs.
- Alternative medicine has a natural and healthy approach – using alternative medicine like herbs, essential oils, massage, and yoga can help to harmonize your body. Besides, they don’t have any negative effects that can harm your body. However, always make sure that you consult your doctor before taking any supplements to make sure that they won’t cause any negative interactions with your treatment.
It’s not expensive – standard cancer treatment like radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery is very costly, especially in developing countries. But, since alternative medicine uses readily available treatments, it’s cheaper than standard treatment procedures. One thing that you should note, however, is that companies don’t over alternative treatment.