Traditional Cancer Treatments with Complementary Therapies

In Breast Cancer, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t receive a request to share information about the latest nutrients, herbal remedies and other so-called natural supplements or other alternative therapy that someone is promoting for cancer patients with claims of how they will be beneficial for cancer patients. These offerings suggest everything from improvements when used in place of or added to traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy. They promise better immediate outcomes for the patient and/or that they will help to keep the cancer from recurring and even extending a person’s life. However, other than the occasional testimonial that is offered as proof for success of a particular alternative, there really hasn’t been offered any real substantiation for such therapies.

Before undertaking any new programs for your cancer treatment, please be sure to discuss it with your medical professionals to determine whether it is safe for you. Barbara Jacoby

Therefore, it was with great interest to me when I came across an article that reveals, in part, the results of a study as follows:

“Johnson found that people who added a complementary medicine approach had twice the risk of dying during the nine-year study compared to people who only chose conventional treatment. The people who opted to add complementary medicine were also more likely to refuse surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone therapy compared to people who did not. Johnson says it was this avoidance of recommended treatment that was largely responsible for the higher early death rate; among people who did all of their conventional treatments and complementary medicine therapies, there was no difference in survival.”

Of course, every cancer patient has the right to make their own choices for treatments on every level and I would never suggest that it should be different. However, what often happens is that as the old saying goes, desperate people do desperate things. Cancer patients are often vulnerable to great marketing programs that suggest that a particular program has life-saving benefits based upon perhaps even a provable success of a single patient. However, just as a single medical treatment may work for one person, it may not only not work for another person but also may prove detrimental in the long run if not monitored with regular testing. Therefore, to blindly embrace a treatment because another person had success is not in a patient’s best interest.

Each cancer is as personally unique as a person’s fingerprints. Therefore, before any treatment is undertaken by a patient, it should be discussed and agreed to by members of your medical team. Even such things as over-the-counter offerings for the simplest things like vitamins and minerals or even certain foods can adversely interact with any other medications that you may have been prescribed. This is the reason that you are given a list of things to avoid and/or limit if you are on a particular medication as well as a list of side effects that you might experience. And think about how some people may have life-threatening allergic reactions to such things as nuts or beef that most of us can’t even imagine.

Therefore, before undertaking any new programs for your cancer treatment, please be sure to discuss it with your medical professionals to determine whether it is safe for you. Your doctors are the ones who are trained to know about such interactions and are the only ones that have the most extensive information about you in their medical records. In addition, based upon their experiences with other cancer patients, they may have already received information about the treatment that you are considering and can provide an additional layer of decision-making help for you. It is most important to always put yourself first and know that your choices should always be based on the best professional information that you can get from trusted sources.