- Posted by jdavis on July 25, 2011
When diagnosed with breast cancer, many people feel helpless and out of control. Suddenly inundated with doctors and treatment decisions that are difficult to understand, it’s easy to feel that you no longer control your own health or destiny. More and more, however, breast cancer patients are turning to alternative therapies as an adjunct to traditional treatments.
These are decisions and treatments that the patient can control and even administer themselves, giving back some control over their health.
Few patients opt for alternative therapies alone. The vast majority still undergo chemotherapy or radiation and sometimes a lumpectomy or mastectomy.
But, studies have shown that there are several alternative therapies that can be effective. In particular, these alternative therapies often have the ability to make the traditional treatments more effective.
If you’re a breast cancer patient, you may want to consider adding alternative therapies to your current medical regimen. Following are some of the most effective therapies to consider:
Tea leaves contain catechins, part of the flavan-3-ol class of flavonoids, which are anti-oxidants. EGCG is one of the catechins contained in tea, and is a potent anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidants have been shown to slow down the aging process, and prevent diseases, including cancer.
However, more recent studies have shown that the EGCG and polyphenols in green tea may make traditional breast cancer treatments more effective.
There have been several studies that have shown that chemotherapy drugs commonly used to treat breast cancer appear in higher concentration in cancerous cells when green tea is administered along with the drugs. The green tea makes the cancer cells less resistant to the drug, so that it can be more effective.
Green tea is also helpful for treating cancer because it seems to slow down the progression of the disease. Cancer cells appear to stop growing and replicating when green tea is part of the treatment regimen. It is believed that green tea may be effective in preventing metastasis of cancer.
Watching your diet carefully while you’re undergoing cancer treatment can also be an effective way to treat your disease naturally. First of all, you should ensure that your diet is rich in anti-oxidants.
This includes eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, and including “power” foods like blueberries, pomegranates, and tomatoes. In addition, as mentioned above, green tea is also a good way to improve the number of anti-oxidants in your diet. It is also important to increase the fiber in your diet.
This will happen automatically if you increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, eliminating white flour and replacing it with whole grains will improve your fiber intake as well.
Herbs & Vitamins
Of course, herbs and vitamins have been used for centuries to promote healing. After all, herbs were the very first medicines. There are several herbs and vitamins that can either soothe side effects of cancer treatment or improve the effectiveness of the treatments. Some of the most important are:
- Ginger Root While ginger root doesn’t appear to affect cancer cells one way or another, it is a powerful tool for reducing the nausea that often accompanies chemotherapy.
- Calcium D-Glucarate – This vitamin and mineral supplement has been shown to reduce mammary cancer in animals. There are no side effects, so adding this to your diet seems a safe alternative therapy.
- Melatonin This is a pineal hormone. It is often used as a natural sleep aid. However, it is also a potent anti-oxidant that has been shown to inhibit estrogen responsive breast cancer cells. It also increases the effectiveness of tamoxifen, a commonly prescribed cancer drug.
- St. John’s Wort This herb has been relied upon for centuries to reduce anxiety, relieve stress and promote a regular sleep cycle. It has also been used to treat depression.
Because of its possible interaction with your cancer drugs, it is not recommended that you use St. John’s Wort while you’re going through chemotherapy. However, it may be an effective treatment before and after your chemotherapy treatment.
Mind, Body & Soul Treatments
Participating in activities that help you relax and that relieve pain and other physical symptoms can also be very effective at helping your body respond to your medicine. When undergoing chemotherapy, it’s not unusual to feel tired and nauseous.
Any treatments you can find to help relieve these symptoms can help you get better over the long haul by keeping your body strong. Some of the most popular treatments are:
- Acupuncture– This ancient healing practice is known to be very effective at relieving chemotherapy induced nausea and it is also effective at reducing pain.
- Yoga, Meditation and Hypnosis All three of these techniques are associated with reducing stress. A reduction in stress may alleviate side effects that occur from cancer treatment and contribute to an overall sense of well being. Keeping our stress in check is helpful in healing our bodies from any ailment.
It’s important to evaluate all your options when you’re battling cancer. It’s critical to keep your doctor informed of any alternative treatments you’d like to include in your therapy. However, if your doctor is aware, you should feel free to explore the many alternative therapies that can be used to enhance your cancer treatments or relieve your side effects.