Cancer Treatment: Traditional Vs. Alternative Methods
There are different ways of treating cancer. However, the method recommended by your doctor will depend on numerous factors, like the type and stage of cancer, available treatment methods, your general health, as well as treatment goals.
When it comes to cancer treatment, doctors normally use standard or traditional treatment to manage the disease. However, some people still look for alternative methods when they feel like the traditional methods are not working.
The traditional or standard cancer treatment involves the use of procedures as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, in addition to medication and other therapies. These methods help to shrink cancer, stop the growth of cancer, or cure cancer.
Alternative cancer treatment methods, on the other hand, are the different products, treatments, and practices that are not part of the traditional cancer treatment. We can also say that alternative treatment refers to the non-standard treatment used in place of standard treatment.
Traditional cancer treatment methods
The following are the most successful traditional cancer treatment methods:
- Surgery – this is a very common treatment option for different types of cancer. Doctors use this method to remove the cancerous cells, also known as tumors, in addition to the nearby tissue. At times, doctors recommend surgery to relieve the side effects caused by the tumor.
- Chemotherapy – this procedure refers to the drugs given to a cancer patient to kill cancer cells. These drugs can be administered through an IV or by mouth. At times, the doctor can give the patient different types of drugs at once or one drug after the other.
- Radiation – this treatment method uses particles, radioactive seeds, or x-rays to “kill” cancer cells. The thing with cancer cells is that they grow and multiply faster than normal body cells. Since radiation harms quickly growing cells, it’s more harmful to cancer cells than normal body cells. The use of radiation therapy prevents cancer cells from growing and multiplying and kills cancer cells.
Generally, there are two primary types of radiation therapy. These include:
- Internal beam – this delivers radiation inside the patient’s body. The internal beam can be delivered by radioactive seeds put near or into the tumor, a pill or liquid that the patient swallows, or through IV.
- External beam – this is the most common form of radiation therapy, which aims particles or x-rays at the tumor from outside the patient’s body.
- Targeted therapy – this treatment method uses drugs to inhibit cancer from growing and multiplying. The good thing with targeted therapy is that it has minimal effects on normal body cells compared to other treatment methods. For instance, chemotherapy kills both cancer and normal body cells. Targeted therapy, on the other hand, focuses on specific molecules in cancer cells. This plays a major role in how cancer grows and spreads. By targeting the molecules, the cancer cells are stopped from spreading.
Targeted cancer therapy drugs work in the following three ways:
- Directly kill cancer cells
- Turns off the process that causes cancer cells to grow and multiply
- Makes cancer cells to die naturally
Alternative cancer treatment methods
The experts from Alternative Cancer Treatment Center in Arizona, Euromed Foundation say that alternative cancer treatment methods don’t have a direct role in curing cancer. However, they help in managing the symptoms caused by cancer, as well as cancer treatment methods.
Some of the common symptoms of cancer and treatment methods include fatigue, anxiety, pain, nausea and vomiting, stress, and difficulty sleep, and can be managed by alternative cancer treatment methods. Most alternative treatment methods are less likely to harm you or interfere with your treatment.
The following are the common cancer alternative cancer treatment methods:
- Acupuncture – this helps to manage mild pain as well as nausea caused by cancer treatment drugs.
- Music or art therapy – this promotes healing, in addition to improving quality of life.
- Biofeedback – this alternative treatment method uses monitoring devices, which help people have conscious control over some physical processes that are controlled automatically like blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, temperature, and sweating.
- Massage therapy – this helps to reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and depression, in addition to increasing alertness.
- Prayer and spirituality – this helps people manage the emotional side effects of cancer.
- Yoga and tai chi – helps patients regain strength and balance as they recover from cancer.
Cancer Treatment: Traditional Vs. Alternative Methods
While alternative cancer treatment methods can help patients when it comes to pain management, they can pose dangers to the patient as well. Some therapies promise a cure without any side effects. However, that’s not always the case. Here are some major concerns when it comes to alternative cancer treatment methods:
- Delaying radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, or any other traditional treatment by opting to use alternative therapy can make cancer grow and spread quickly.
- Some alternative therapies can lead to serious complications and death at times.
- Certain minerals and vitamins increase the risk of cancer and other diseases, especially if taken in excess.
Therefore, it’s always advisable to consult with your doctor before starting any alternative cancer treatment therapy to avoid harming yourself. Also, never rely on alternative treatment alone, since there’s no proof that these methods can cure cancer on their own.
Cancer Treatment Traditional Vs Alternative Methods