Alternative treatments, coupled with traditional medications, could help speed up the cancer treatment process.
Once an individual has been diagnosed with cancer, there are a few possible options for treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Early detection will make these cancer treatments much more effective, and alternative treatments, such as herbs and supplements may speed up the recovery process and make the body more susceptible to treatment.
Both medical and homeopathic doctors recommend that herbs and supplements be taken in conjunction with traditional treatments. Trying alternative methods alone, especially depending on the stage of the cancer, may not work to remove the cancer; and after a certain point it may be too late to begin conventional treatments. Physical activity, like yoga, and even meditation, can also reduce stress and anxiety, which reduces the side effects of cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy.
Although each type of cancer requires specialized treatment, there are some general supplements and alternative methods that can be taken during radiation or chemotherapy that will help to balance in the systems in the body and eliminate fatigue. Qigong, a Chinese medicine practice that improves the function of the immune system, helps to prolong the survival of cancer patients. Chinese herbal formulas, such as Zuo Gui Wan or You Gui Yin can make chemotherapy more effective, and can speed up recovery after cancer-related surgery. These herbs should be taken about a week before beginning cancer treatment, as well as throughout the treatment process. Bovine Cartilage is also recommended up to three times a day during treatment, and four months after treatment to boost the immune system and help the body to fight off further diseases.
Herbal supplements for specific cancers differ in their properties, and perform different functions in order to heal the body. Herbal supplements are recommended by both traditional and alternative health professionals that match the medications used during chemotherapy. There are also alternative ‘medications’ for individuals undergoing radiation therapy for cancer.
Cisplatin, a drug used in chemotherapy for testicular and ovarian cancer, is safe to use with: Glutathione, which can reduce toxins in the kidneys and neurological system, and Quercetin, which kills a greater number of tumor cells when used with Cisplatin. Selenium, usually used in conjunction with Vitamin C, also increases the tumor-exterminating effects of Cisplatin. In chemotherapy for breast cancer, Gingko Biloba, a memory-enhancing herb, is recommended as a supplement, as chemo has been proven to decrease memory and slow down the planning or organizational part of the brain during treatment. Radiation therapy for breast cancer is most effective when accompanied by the intake of Astragalus containing lingustrum (also known as Chinese privet); this strengthens the breast tissue and improves survival. Astragalus is also used in conjunction with chemotherapy for lung cancer.
The chemotherapy drug used to treat cancers of the skin, liver, kidney and lung, Interleukin-2, contains cytokine, which is a protein that regulates the immune system. This protein works best in the body when it is used with melatonin, which has been proven to improve overall chances of cancer survival. Melatonin is also used in radiation therapy for glioblastoma, which is the most common malignant brain tumor.
After receiving cancer treatment, alternative or herbal methods for maintaining health can keep the body cancer-free, and rid the body of impurities not entirely destroyed during chemotherapy or radiation. Drinking about four cups of green tea a day has been proven to prevent future cancer growth. A daily dose of Flaxseed oil and Vitamin K can prevent prostate cancer from returning, and Vitamin K can also reduce the chances of recurring breast cancer. Also, consuming a clove of garlic and/or 50 g of raw onion every day protects the liver from further damage.
While many herbs have proven to make traditional cancer treatments more effective, there are some alternative methods for which effectiveness has not been medically proven. There have been testimonials about these products, and some cancer patients have tried these methods, but some of these supplements are still being tested, and may not result in the overall improvement of the condition of a cancer patient. These products include: shark cartilage, which has a compound that slows blood vessel growth in tumors; Laetrile, which is derived from apricot seeds and is believed to remove impurities from the body and increase blood flow; and Essaic, a Ojibwa Indian formula consisting of four herbs-burdock root, Indian rhubarb, slippery elm bark, and sheep sorrel used to eliminate cancer cells and improve survival after cancer.
It is always recommended to consult a physician before including herbs, minerals, or any alternative methods in traditional cancer treatments. Your physician will be able to tell you exactly which herbs or supplements to take, or if you should include other methods, such as yoga or meditation, into your overall healing or treatment process. Actual herbal dosages should be determined by a doctor, and the decision should be made before conventional treatment begins-most herbs need to be taken at least a week or two before treatment begins, so that the body will become accustomed to them and, in most cases, respond favorably.