Some alternative cancer treatments are used to minimize symptoms, but do not offer any real hope of curing the disease. Though some treatments claim to have successfully slowed or cured cancer, it should be noted that clinical studies to support most of these claims are either vague or nonexistent. Some of the more common alternative cancer treatments are acupuncture, homeopathic medicine, and special diets. In addition, a method called “biologic” treatment is sometimes used. This treatment involves the use of drugs and hormones not originally intended for cancer treatment.
Acupuncture has been used for centuries for a variety of ailments, and according to many studies, the treatment often does help with pain. In addition, acupuncture can sometimes lessen other cancer symptoms such as vomiting and upset stomach. Acupuncture works by targeting certain nerve centers within the body and stimulating these centers with very thin, long needles. Some studies indicate that acupuncture may also stimulate the immune system, which could be a tremendous benefit to many cancer patients.
Homeopathic medicine is one of the more popular alternative cancer treatments. This method usually involves two different approaches: one that attempts to destroy or minimize cancer tumors and another that attempts to detoxify the liver and lymph nodes. Homeopathic practitioners use diluted extracts from plants and animals in these treatments. These extracts are sometimes given orally, but are often injected directly into the areas where tumors are thought to be growing. Homeopathic treatments are often used in conjunction with diets believed to help cure cancer.
Studies indicate that nutrition can play an important role in treating many different types of illnesses, and nutrition is an important part of both traditional medicine and alternative cancer treatments. One of these popular diets is called the Gerson Therapy. This diet involves eating foods meant to help detoxify the body and boost the immune system. In conjunction with diets that are low in salt and potassium, enemas are used to help remove toxins. There appears to be little evidence to suggest that the Gerson Therapy actually works.
Other nutrition-based alternative cancer treatments include using foods that boost production of coenzyme Q10 and foods with antioxidant properties. Studies involving women with breast cancer did show some tumor shrinkage when exposed to high levels of coenzyme Q10. This natural enzyme provides cells with added energy and may help the body combat invasive cancer cells. Both Q10 and antioxidants fight to rid the body of free radicals, which can cause cell mutation that can eventually lead to cancer.