Alternative and complementary are associated terms used in describing practices, medication, and treatment methods not recognized by traditional medicine. Many cancer patients are familiar with these as they can supplement care and self-management of symptoms. When used together with conventional treatment, complementary practices may be recommended by physicians. On the other hand, medical professionals consider a treatment alternative when it’s used instead of mainstream medicine.
Should a cancer patient consider these methods of treatment?
Cancer patients these days are well-informed and educated about their condition. As they are more proactive about their treatment, it’s common to find resources online that promote alternative or complementary practices. These are used to treat or alleviate cancer symptoms. Many online cancer communities like belong.life can be an excellent source of information on these matters. By choosing a reliable source, a cancer patient will get unbiased and factual information. Also, online communities with a vast network of professionals and like-minded individuals can help in decision-making.
Some of the reasons why many patients consider complementary treatment are the following:
- Mainstream cancer treatment causes many side-effects. Alternative practices can help ease these side-effects. For example, acupuncture may potentially reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy.
- A patient wants to actively take part in health and wellness while undergoing treatment.
Alternative medicine is also attractive to cancer patients because it claims to harness the person’s mind and body to overcome the sickness. There are also methods that take advantage of nature and all that it has to offer. Yes, there are methods that won’t cause any harm. But, doctors caution cancer patients when trying alternative medicine which could be dangerous for them.
How are complementary and alternative methods used for cancer management?
Most people believe that traditional medicine is the only way to manage the pain and side-effects associated with cancer treatment. But, many health professionals acknowledge that using complementary methods can help improve the quality of life for a cancer patient. Of course, what’s essential to understand is that these methods shouldn’t be used as a replacement for traditional treatment. Also, every patient should beware of any alternative method claiming to cure the illness.
If you want a safer way to take advantage of these complementary methods, you can look for a cancer center that offers them. You also need to inform your physician if you are interested in trying them so as not to harm your progress in any way.
How effective are alternative methods?
Complementary and alternative cancer treatment methods are harder to test. Although there’s a general assumption that these are safe, there’s always a possibility that these may counteract or delay the effects of traditional treatment. Also, there’s always a placebo effect when a patient expects to feel better after a treatment. Unless there are medical data, then it can’t be concluded that the treatment is working.
Choosing alternative and complementary treatment methods for cancer is a personal decision. Yes, there are many benefits when a patient is actively engaged in his well-being. But, it’s still best when a patient openly discusses the process with a physician before making these critical decisions.