Cancer is such a common disease nowadays, but it still remains one of the most highly dreaded conditions known to man. It disrupts lives and steals away precious time. Those diagnosed with the disease are usually confronted with constant pain and suffering, not to mention bothered with so many questions about life, death, recovery, and everything in between.
While it is common practice in mainstream medicine to consider new medical breakthroughs in cancer treatments as ineffective until they are proven useful, many supporters of complementary and alternative cancer treatments use and promote treatments that do not have the approval of the United States Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies.
Many of the new drugs made and tested in research laboratories, despite being able to kill cancerous cells in animals and test tubes, still fail to work when used by humans.
This is also why a good number of doctors rely on the results of various clinical studies for developments. Prescriptions cannot be given just because one company is claiming that their developed drug works; they have to be proven in clinical studies that are observed, supervised, and scrutinized by top cancer treatment experts.
A lot is involved in certifying a drug or a procedure is approved for prescription and made available in drug stores. Patient success stories, testimonials, and other marketing strategies are not enough to initiate the approval of a treatment method for general use. A series of successful clinical trials is needed to ensure that a certain treatment works.
Substantial evidence is gathered by starting with lab studies (test tubes) and then proceeding to animal studies, before moving on to small studies in humans, who are usually cancer patients who volunteer. Once the treatment has successfully passed this stage, that is when medical professionals start rolling out larger clinical trials for humans. Not only does it need to prove that the treatment works, but also that it works consistently and without some serious side effects.
Scientific methods that are used have to be strict and rigorous, so as to make sure that the treatment methods being tested follow the guidelines set by the Food and Drug Administration. Many alternative cancer treatments do not seek the approval of these regulatory body but instead work under a different sphere, which does not seem to be a problem among cancer patients who opt for these kinds of treatments. In fact, alternatives to conventional medicine are being looked into by an increasing number as a viable option for cancer treatment.
Treatments falling under conventional medicine that are considered to be proven to help cure cancer or help the removal of the cancer cells must have the results of the studies conducted published in peer-reviewed journals.
How Complementary and/or Alternative Cancer Treatments Differ
For the undiscerning individual, complementary and alternative cancer treatments may pretty much mean the same thing or do not go far from conventional medicine. In reality, these two terms have completely different meanings, especially when considered in relation to traditional Western medicine.
All of these treatment methods do, in fact, are meant to help prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer. What separates them from one another is how they approach treating the disease. While conventional medicine works on targeting the tumor and the cancerous cells that attack a specific area of the body and is usually a generally accepted procedure by regulatory agencies and medical experts, alternative treatments do not usually have the backing of these same agencies.
Alternative cancer treatments range from biological products such as herbs and vitamins, to special breathing exercises and meditation. There are methods that use traditional Chinese medicinal system that involve acupuncture, hypnosis, and other machines. Some practices involve the use of detoxification diets and other botanical cleanse to complement radiation, surgery, and other conventional and generally accepted treatments.
Patients who are considering any of the aforementioned therapies in exchange for the conventional treatment methods are advised to carefully seek the professional advice and weigh their options accordingly.
While complementary and alternative cancer treatments help provide cancer patients with options for curing the disease, there is no guarantee that each one will work. Actual evidence of recovery from cancer still remains elusive, despite all these available options.
While testing for the reported cancer cures are ongoing, many cancer patients are seeing the need to explore other available alternatives to cancer treatment and recovery while a legitimate cure has yet to be developed.