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Alternative medicine and cancer

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 115 views

The combination of conventional medicine and alternative medicine for the treatment of tumor diseases is called complementary cancer therapy (integrative oncology). It aims to regenerate the immune system, stimulate the body’s own detoxification processes and provide mental support. Some alternative methods also help to better deal with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy .

» Mistletoe therapy : Of all complementary cancer therapies, mistletoe therapy is the most commonly used. However, its effectiveness is still controversial. According to the manufacturer, mistletoe preparations should, for example, improve the physical and mental well-being of cancer patients, strengthen their immune system, stimulate their appetite, relieve pain or even inhibit tumor growth and prevent recurrence.

» Phytotherapy : In addition to mistletoe, other plants (phytotherapy) are used to improve the quality of life of cancer patients – either as a ready-to-use preparation (eg capsules) or in tea form. A few examples: valerian root helps with insomnia , St. John’s wort for mild to moderate depression , tea blends made from lavender, lemon balm and passion flower can combat anxiety.

» Homeopathy : Homeopathic remedies are said to alleviate symptoms of exhaustion and sleep disorders and to drive away nausea (e.g. caused by chemotherapy ) and headaches. For example, Nux vomica C30 (against nausea from the stomach , headache and neck pain ) and Cocculus C30 (against nausea, vomiting, weakness and insomnia) are used. Homeopaths adapt the selection of preparations individually to the patient.

» Acupuncture : With the insertion of acupuncture needles, tumor pain and side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea and weakness can be relieved.

» Relaxation and meditation : Whether autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, Qi Gong or yoga – relaxation methods can help against pain, sleep problems, fears and depressive moods that occur with cancer. Even if some doctors are skeptical – a try can be worthwhile.

What helps and when does it become risky?

Cancer is very stressful, both mentally and physically. Alternative offers for treating the symptoms and side effects of conventional medical therapies can provide support here.

A specific effectiveness could not be demonstrated for some methods. But these could also have a significant effect, at least via a placebo effect.

The patient also gains the feeling of being able to contribute something themselves and actively supporting their body in the healing process. This can actually have a certain positive physical effect, but above all it can improve reconciliation with the illness and strengthen one’s will to face life.

But there are also many dubious providers who take advantage of the plight of cancer patients. They are usually not only very expensive without bringing the promised benefit, in the worst case they can also reduce the effectiveness of conventional medical treatment or even cause massive damage. Therefore, be sure to talk to your treating physicians if you want to use complementary medicine treatment.

You should be skeptical, especially if unrealistic or exclusive promises of healing are made, or if you are even asked to stop the medical treatment.

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