Examining Complementary & Alternative Cancer Treatments Part 2: Why Cancer Patients Seek Alternatives to Conventional Medicine

Many proponents of alternative cancer treatments like to argue that they focus on the patient and not the disease, something that they claim conventional medicine does the opposite of. Oftentimes, the goal of the oncologist, or the doctor that specializes in treating cancer, is to completely eradicate the malignant tumor either through surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.

All three have proven to be effective in varying degrees especially when utilized properly. There are times when one treatment is enough for a patient to recover, while there are some instances that more than one approach may be used.

What many supporters of alternative cancer treatments do not like about conventional methods is that these “technologies”, in order to get rid of the dreadful disease, also kill healthy cells along with the cancerous ones. This is why sometimes, the quality of life of patients tend to decrease after treatment. In some cases, patients do not even survive the treatment despite the success of eliminating the cancerous cells because they have been weakened by the procedures.

Another fact worth reiterating is that cancer cells are highly adaptive and can become resistant to these methods over a period of time. This is why there are many successful testimonials during the initial stages of treatment, only to have them taken back by the same patients because the cells have learned how to resist therapy.

This phenomena has paved the way for complementary and alternative treatments to become so popular among countless cancer patients who have become disheartened after enduring a series of chemotherapy or radiation sessions. Majority of these individuals are constantly on the lookout for a more promising approach. Even Hollywood celebrities and influential people in various industries who are battling cancer have completely abandoned conventional medicine to look for more favorable alternatives.

Categories

  • Alternative Medical Systems – These include Chinese, Ayurvedic and other traditional healing systems and beliefs in various cultures in different parts of the world.
  • Mind-Body Methods – This approach is centered on the belief that the mind can influence and affect how the human body responds to cancer.
  • Nutritional – Food is an endless source of nutritional elements, which is why another approach to treating cancer involves following special diets and taking food supplements that help fight cancer.
  • Pharmacological and Biological – These involve the use of vaccines, botanicals, hormones, and other similar treatments solely for confronting cancer.

Nevertheless, it is important for cancer-stricken individuals to exercise caution when looking for other treatment methods. Desperation could stand in the way of patients’ ability to properly decide whether to try a certain approach or therapy, especially when they are advised by a person they trust, but does not necessarily have the proper expertise to give such an opinion.

While many claims regarding alternative medicine seem to be promising and beneficial, there is no guarantee that these things work, or that they are safe and have no unwanted side effects. There are, however, many studies being done that aim to shed light on the advantages and disadvantages of these alternative cancer treatments.