The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) show that more and more people are opting to use Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) as part of their treatment for fighting cancer. According to NHIS, about 40 percent of cancersurvivors used CAM in their treatment. The most common CAM therapies among survivors were herbal and natural products, deep breathing exercises and meditation.
Cancer Treatment Options Using CAM
Places like the New Hope Medical Center in Arizona offer many CAM treatments. They follow the philosophy that “Each disease is as unique as the patient’s own fingerprint. There is no predetermined method to treating illness. Every protocol must be individualized specifically for the patient that is being treated.”
Cancer treatment centers that offer CAM rely on a wide variety of therapies provided by various specialists like oncologists, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, psychologists, nutritionists, and nurses that are committed to an individualized and complete treatment program. CAM based programs include a number of therapies that focus on integrative medicine to support and strengthen both body and mind.
Nutrition – According to the National Cancer Institute, about one-third of all cancer deaths are related to malnutrition. A personalized nutritional plan may include natural products like herbal medicines, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) offer nutrition therapy that supports the body’s immune system, heals and rebuilds body tissue, increases energy and improves overall quality of life. At CTCA a comprehensive assessment is done that will determine how the immune system is functioning, the state of the digestive system and percent of body fat and loss of lean tissue. A plan will then be created to support the health of the patient.
The practice of psychoneuroimmunology examines how the mind is affected by thoughts, attitudes and belief systems that have an impact on health and well-being. Specialists utilize the healing work of meditation to provide an increased sense of calm. Yoga is used to help restore the mind body connection to increase overall health and vitality. Acupuncture is another option that stimulates specific areas on the body that reduces nausea, vomiting and relieves pain. MD Anderson Cancer Center integrates mind-body healing through their Integrative Medicine Center, offering laughter yoga, centering prayer, aromatherapy, and relaxation techniques.
Chiropractic Care and Massage Therapy
Chiropractic care can reduce stress to the nervous system in cancer patients by the adjustment and connection of musculoskeletal problems, strengthening the body to self-heal. Touch therapies like massage relieve pain, decrease anxiety and create a general feeling of well-being. Leading cancer treatment center Memorial Sloan-Kettering offers touch therapies through their Integrative Medicine Service like aromatherapy, reflexology, Reiki, Shiatsu and Swedish massage.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine is an amazing stand alone option and a perfect solution for those looking to compliment western medicine. These techniques have been shown to increase the bodies effectiveness in battling disease and should be considered extremely valuable in times of health and illness.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
- Cancer Treatment Centers of America. <http://www.cancercenter.com/alternative-cancer-treatment.htm>
- MD Anderson Cancer Center. <http://www.mdanderson.org>
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). A federal government agency that leads scientific research on CAM. <http://nccam.nih.gov/>
- New Hope Medical Center. <http://www.newhopemedicalcenter.com/>
- Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM). Established in 1998 and integrates the work of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) with CAM. This resource publishes the latest in research, clinical trials, news and events. <http://www.cancer.gov/cam/>
- US News Top-Ranked Hospitals for Cancer. <http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings/cancer>