More on immune system health
Natural Cancer Treatments
Traditional cancer treatments work by targeting the tumor with toxic chemicals or radiation, killing off the malignant cells – but also damaging healthy cells in the process. For this reason, chemotherapy and radiation are extremely difficult on the body, causing side effects ranging from hair loss to nausea and vomiting to anemia. Some of the most lethal cancers, such as mesothelioma, are not diagnosed until the late stages. Mesothelioma treatment generally includes traditional therapies like radiation, chemotherapy, and – more rarely – surgery, but these treatments are often of limited effectiveness by the time the cancer is diagnosed.
As a result, many cancer patients turn to alternative treatment as a method of alleviating symptoms or fighting the cancer itself. There are many natural alternative remedies available, though most are used in conjunction with traditional therapies rather than replacements for them. The reason these treatments are not part of standard medical care is that most have not been proven to show significant positive effects in clinical trials. However, when even conventional medical treatment offers little chance of recovery, it is only natural to search for natural alternatives with fewer harsh side effects.
Vitamin C – an important nutrient found in citrus and other fruits and vegetables, given intravenously in large doses. This therapy is based on a 1976 study that suggested the vitamin may increase survival time for terminal cancer patients. However, other scientists have not been able to reproduce the results of this study.
Mushroom extract – the use of mushrooms for medicinal purposes. Compounds called beta-glucans found in some mushrooms are thought to boost the body’s immune responses, allowing it to better fight the cancer.
Cat’s claw – the common name for Uncaria tormentosa, a vine found in the tropics of Central and South America. The inner bark and root are used by indigenous cultures to treat intestinal ailments, and there has been some indication that it may also have a stimulating effect on the immune system in cancer patients.
Iscador – an extract of the mistletoe plant, especially popular as a cancer therapy in Europe. Though the National Cancer Institute does not list it as an approved treatment, some tests have been promising and the extract is currently undergoing clinical trials.
Quercetin – an anti-oxidant flavonoid found in some fruits and vegetables. Some in vitro studies have shown quercetin to suppress malignant cancer cells, and the National Cancer Institute highly recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables for cancer prevention as well as during treatment.
Macrobiotic diet – a diet that consists primarily of whole grains, vegetables, and beans while avoiding refined or processed foods. Practitioners claim this diet is linked to the traditions of Chinese, Japanese, or Incan cultures and is based on the principle of balance in food and in life.
An Important Note
If you are receiving medical treatment for cancer or other serious illness, it is imperative that you speak to your doctor before beginning any alternative therapies to prevent possibly dangerous interactions or side effects. Any changes in diet should also be discussed with a medical professional, since chemotherapy or radiation may change the way your body takes in nutrients and malnutrition can be a serious risk.