What Are Complementary Cancer Therapies?

Complementary cancer therapy is a term used to describe treatment options for medical conditions that are used with traditional medical treatment. Before undertaking these complementary treatments, patients are encouraged to consult their physicians. But, how effective are they as cancer treatments?

The answer depends on what you are looking for in the complementary cancer therapy. Every day there are new breakthroughs in cancer treatment. Actually being able to administer the new drugs is several years away and throughout the process of testing there are no guarantees that they will be found useful.

Besides legitimate researchers, there are those who have cut corners and advertise “too good to be true” treatments. When sick patients are grasping at straws, they usually come in contact with these people and wind up penniless with their spirit broken.

The truth is that even traditional medical treatment had to be tested before it could be thought of as safe. Even those that help such as radiation and chemotherapy have serious side effects that are hard to bear.

Complementary cancer therapy seeks to meet the needs of cancer patients. What is needed varies from moment to moment. Let’s start with the body. Taking a holistic view of the cancer patient, it is important to be in a positive state of mind throughout treatment. Even a traditional doctor will tell you that.

Yoga is a complementary cancer therapy that works to connect the mind, body and spirit. It was developed thousands of years ago and is a form of exercise that concentrates on meditation, breathing and posture. The result of practising yoga is a greater sense of awareness about yourself, peace, lower stress levels and increased strength. For the patient undergoing cancer treatment, yoga can reduce or even eliminate the side effects.

Biofeedback is another complementary therapy that seeks to make a connection between the mind and the body. It is much like mind over matter. Through their relaxation methods, people learn to control processes within their body that are usually involuntary. These processes include blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and others. Biofeedback has been used to treat chronic pain. It can also help improve the quality of life for cancer patients in all stages.

Changing what you eat can aid in your cancer treatment. For instance, eliminating red meat reduces the amount of animal fat in your body to stimulate certain hormone production that feeds cancerous tumors. Along that same line are vitamin supplements. Getting the recommended daily dose of essential vitamins increases the tools the body has to work with when it is repairing itself. A body battling cancer needs to be at its best.

So, are complementary cancer therapies effective? In a way, they are. No one is claiming that they cure cancer, but, in conjunction with traditional therapies they enable the body to fight back as hard as it can.