What is cancer?
Cancer is not merely one medical condition, but a large
group of many diseases. It is a genetic disease, with two main attributes: one
of uncontrolled growth of the cells within the human body and secondly, the
ability of those cells to migrate from the original site and spread to other
parts of the body. It’s the second leading cause of death in the world. The
survival rates for some types of cancer are improving thanks to more awareness,
better screening, and advances in cancer treatments. Because of such medical advances and an aging population, the number of cancer survivors continues to grow.
Cancer is a disease wherein there is an abnormal growth of cells, leading to the formation of tumors. These tumors can be malignant or benign in nature. Benign tumors are generally harmless, and the tumor is restricted to a single organ. They can be easily extracted with surgery. On the other hand, malignant tumors are formed when the abnormal cells are migrated to other positions in the body through the bloodstream. Malignant tumors can spread very soon and can even be fatal (WHO Fact sheet 2015; NCI 2015).
Many may experience long-term and late consequences of cancer and its treatment through surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or radiation. Such effects may include dehydration (lack of fluids), eating difficulty, psychological side effects (anxiety, depression, distress), fatigue, pain, fear of recurrence, and anxiety.
Because of this, some patients have used or expressed interest in integrative holistic medicine therapies for the prevention of recurrence, optimizing wellness, improving quality of life, and managing symptoms. There is research published during the last year which informs our understanding of the usefulness of integrative medicine for cancer survivors.
Physical activity, diet, dietary supplements, mind-body modalities, Acupuncture, Ayurveda, Yoga, Meditation, and Massage therapy all may play a part in the management of their physical (e.g. fatigue and pain) and psychological (e.g. anxiety and anxiety ) issues faced by cancer survivors.
Integrative medicine treatments are attractive to and used by many cancer survivors and might decrease symptom burden. It could be possible to enhance cancer survivorship care by understanding the evidence for or against their use.
Types of Cancer
One out of every four deaths in the USA is from cancer. It
is next only to heart disorder as a cause of death in the USA. Cancer can
strike anybody. Since the occurrence of cancer increases as people age, many
cases are observed in adults, middle-aged, or elderly. The most common cancers
include skin cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer (in
women), and prostate cancer (in males). In addition, cancer of the kidneys,
ovaries, uterus, pancreas, bladder, rectum, blood (leukemia), and lymph nodes
(lymphoma) are also included as one of the 12 big cancers that affect many
Cancer, by definition, is a disease of the genes. A gene is
a small part of DNA, that’s the master molecule of the mobile. Genes make
proteins, that would be the greatest workhorses of the cells. It is these
proteins, together with other substances, that allow our bodies to carry out
the many procedures that allow individuals to breathe, think, move, etc. An alteration, or mutation, to the DNA
molecule, can interrupt the genes and produce proteins that are faulty. This
causes the cell to become abnormal and shed its restraints on expansion. The
abnormal cell begins to divide uncontrollably and eventually forms a new growth
known as a tumor or neoplasm. In a wholesome individual, the immune system may
recognize the neoplastic cells and destroy them before they get an opportunity
to divide. However, some mutant cells can escape immune detection and endure to
become tumors or cancers.
Tumors are two types, benign or cancerous. A
benign tumor is slow-growing, doesn’t spread or invade surrounding tissue, and
once removed, it doesn’t typically recur. A cancerous tumor, on the flip side,
invades surrounding tissue and has the capacity to disperse to other parts of
the human body. If the cancer cells have spread into the surrounding tissues,
then, even after the key cancerous tumor is removed, it normally recurs either
independently or to a remote website. A majority of cancers are brought on by
changes in the cell’s DNA because of damage due to the cell’s environment.
Environmental factors that are responsible for inducing the first mutation in
the DNA are known as carcinogens, and there are many types. Some cancers have a
genetic basis. There are several different kinds of cancers. Carcinomas are
cancers that develop in the epithelium (the layer of cells covering the body’s
surface and lining the internal organs and various glands). Ninety percent of
human cancers fall into this group.
What are Cancer Symptoms?
Cancer is a progressive illness, also goes through several
phases with varying symptoms. Some signs are created early and may happen due
to a tumor that’s growing within an organ or a gland. As the tumor grows, it
may press on the nearby nerves, organs, and blood vessels. This causes pain and
a few pressure which may be the initial warning signals of cancer. Signs and
symptoms caused by cancer will vary based on what portion of the body is
According to Mayo Clinic, some typical signs, and symptoms
associated with, but not specific to cancer, comprise:
– Lump or area of thickening that can be felt beneath the skin
– Weight affects, such as accidental loss or benefit
– Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening, or redness of the
skin, sores that won’t heal, or changes to existing moles
– Changes in bowel or bladder habits
– Difficulty swallowing
– Persistent cough or difficulty breathing
– Persistent indigestion or discomfort after eating
– Persistent, unexplained muscle or joint pain
– Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats
– Unexplained bleeding or bruising
Alternative & Holistic Cancer Treatments
There is a multitude of holistic cancer therapies and complementary remedies available to
assist an individual with cancer. They are normally integrated with allopathic
treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy and
radiation treatments are a few of the most painful and toxic of conventional
treatments, and often have inconsistent outcomes. Generally, complementary
therapies are less invasive, non-toxic, and have minimal side effects. Once used
as adjuncts to conventional treatment, some complementary treatments are proven
to decrease pain and unwanted effects, assist in the healing process, and
enhance the quality of life of cancer patients.
Integrative treatment of cancer is a complex arena and
picking one from the many can seem a difficult job, as can picking an
alternative practitioner. Patients need to speak to as many trained health
professionals as feasible when choosing alternate therapies. If patients are
ready to ask questions and thoroughly investigate their choices, they can
increase their odds of getting the best possible remedy support for the
difficult task of handling cancer.
Complementary medicine generally views cancer as a holistic
problem. That is, cancer represents a problem with the body’s overall health
and resistance. As such, treatment is holistic too, striving to strengthen and
heal the bodily, mental, and spiritual elements of patients. It may highlight
different basic approaches, which include traditional medicines, psychological
approaches, dietary and nutritional treatments for cancer, physical approaches, integrated
approaches, and experimental applications.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses acupuncture treatment for cancer care, acupressure
massage, herbal remedies, and movement therapies like Tai chi and Qigong to
deal with cancer. Traditional Chinese herbal remedies have already contributed
a significant number of anti-inflammatory drugs since studies have
demonstrated their anticancer properties and immune stimulants. A 2001 report
noted that the ancient compound artemisinin (wormwood) appears amazingly
helpful in targeting particular cancer cells and helping to destroy them. The
treatment is much less costly than many traditional options, but further
research was underway. Acupuncture has been proven to reduce some tumors and
significantly reduce pain and enhance immune system action.
Ayurveda treatment for cancer care includes the following:
– Panchakarma is extensive detoxification and strengthening the program that is suggested for cancer sufferers and people undergoing
chemotherapy and radiation. Panchakarma uses fasting, special vegetarian diets,
enemas, massage, herbal medications, and other methods to rid the body of
excess toxins that are believed to contribute to chronic diseases like cancer,
also to strengthen the immune system.
– Ayurvedic herbs are also being proven to
have important anti-cancer properties.
Naturopathy and homeopathy are traditional Western recovery
systems utilizing herbal medicines and other methods to fortify the immune
system and lower the pain of cancer therapy.
Western herbalism is also beginning to market studies of
many herbs that have anti-inflammatory and immune-strengthening properties.
Alternative remedies that seek to aid patients
with the mental and spiritual barriers that cancer poses include psychotherapy,
support groups, guided imagery, meditation, biofeedback, and hypnosis. Psychological
approaches work with the idea that the mind and emotions may profoundly
influence the health of the human body and ailments like cancer.
A 1992 report from Oncology claimed that nutritional factors
may account for up to 70 percent of avoidable cancer mortality in this country.
Many nutritionists also say that cancer patients have increased needs for diets
free of toxic substances and full of cancer-fighting nutrients. Diet and
nutrition can enhance both a cancer patient’s chances for recovery and quality
of life during therapy. In lab studies, vitamins such as A, C, and E, as well
as compounds such as isothiocyanates and dithiolthiones found in broccoli,
cauliflower, and cabbage, along with the antioxidant beta-carotene found in
carrots, have also been shown to protect against cancer. Furthermore,
bioflavonoids and lycopene found in green tea help in preventing cancer. Dietary strategies for cancer include vegetarianism, raw food diets, macrobiotics, the
Gerson diet, and also the Livingston-Wheeler nutritional plan, mentioned below.
Cancer diets normally emphasize fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and
legumes, and restrict intake of fat, meat, dairy products, sugar, processed
foods, and other foods considered to taxation cancer sufferers. Nutritional
approaches to cancer include vitamin and antioxidant supplementation and using
numerous herbal extracts. There are many herbs that have been shown to have
anti-inflammatory, immune-enhancing, and symptom diminishing properties, and
patients are recommended to consult competent herbalists for herbal aid.
Natural cancer cures for prevention
Most practitioners agree that the best treatment for cancer
is prevention. But how does one prevent cancer naturally? Possessing sound physical and psychological health can
significantly decrease the chances of getting cancer. These guidelines are
generally recommended by doctors, nutritionists, and other practitioners for
cancer prevention and recovery:
• Refraining from smoking excessively.
• Exercising regularly, at least 20 minutes daily, preferably
outdoors in the fresh air.
• Avoiding exposure to radiation. This includes avoiding
unnecessary x rays, not residing near sources of natural or human-made
radiation, and avoiding occupational exposure to radiation.
• Avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals in Food, the home,
and the workplace.
• Maintaining appropriate body weight, particularly avoiding
• Protecting skin from overexposure to sunlight.
• Eating a healthy diet. Becoming educated practicing and on
dietary principles decreases the risk of cancer. These principles include
eating loads of fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains and consuming
organically grown foods when possible.
Sound mental and psychological health is thought
to help prevent cancer. Learning a technique like yoga, tai chi, meditation, or
others can reduce stress and promote relaxation.
None of the therapies will be effective if the regimen is
not followed in its entirety. It’s for this reason that many professionals
recommend treatment be taken at the setting of the practice, because all of these details can then become the responsibility of the staff, freeing the patient to
concentrate on the recovery. In fact, many professionals who
treat cancer require their treatment to be followed in a strict fashion, that they will refuse to take care of
patients that are not well prepared to carry all the required actions and
truly devote themselves to getting well. They warn that natural treatments for
cancer are not simple, cancer is a sign that the integrity of their human body
system has been seriously compromised, and nothing but the strictest regimen
is likely to facilitate a return to health. Nevertheless, these therapies are
very experimental and there are no guarantees of a cure.
Side effects in cancer treatments
Side effects associated with natural therapies
are very mild compared to those commonly experienced with allopathic
treatments. Price is one of the main inhibitors of those remedies. Nonetheless,
in the case of cancer therapy, a healing crisis may be an unpleasant
experience. Complementary medicine practitioners generally believe that all illness is
due to a toxic condition in the human body and cancer, being one of the very
serious conditions, is a sign of serious levels of toxicity. It follows that
when your system starts to throw off these toxins, the blood system gets
overloaded and the patient will experience headaches, fevers, nausea, and in
some cases extreme sensitivity to stimuli such as light and sound.
Science & Research
Treatments for cancer are among the topics where allopathic
medicine disapproves most strongly of complementary medicine, and consequently, these organic remedies would be the subject of much adverse publicity. Cancer
patients’ use of complementary therapies, including massage therapy,
acupuncture, mind-body treatments, music therapy, physical therapy, and herbs
and botanicals has improved in recent decades. In reality, complementary
treatments are increasingly incorporated into mainstream cancer programs and
facilities. Randomized controlled studies suggest that many complementary
therapies control treatment-related physical and emotional symptoms including
fatigue, pain, nausea, xerostomia, nervousness, and depression in both adult
and pediatric cancer patients. Importantly, many of these interventions create
long-lasting improvement. Cautions are important, however, regarding the use of
herbal, herbal preparations, and other over-the-counter agents. These may be
harmful as many interact with traditional pharmacologic drugs, like
chemotherapy, or create unwanted side effects. (Cancer & Chemotherapy Rev.