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Beyond Chemotherapy and Radiation - the Role of Alternative Medicine in Cancer Care

By Expert HERWriter
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Whenever a friend or family member has been diagnosed with cancer (which sadly, is something I’ve experienced more than a few times and I have a feeling many of you have dealt with it too), it seems like in addition to extending our love and sympathy and finding out if there is anything we can do to help, we also tend to ask about upcoming chemotherapy and/or radiation appointments.

And in most cases, everyone I know who has battled cancer has responded with things like “I have six rounds of chemo coming up, three weeks apart, and I will probably have radiation too.” It seems like these two types of treatment options are almost a given at this point, and with good reason—they usually work!

But I do admit to wondering sometimes—are there any other options? For example, I’ve had friends who are really into natural remedies and vitamins and things get diagnosed with cancer. Would it ever work to combine traditional cancer therapies with more naturopathic ones?

Before going any further, I think it’s important to talk a bit about what “naturopathic” means. It’s a word that we hear a lot but I know I didn’t really understand it completely until I looked it up and starting researching it. “Naturopathic” is way more than just being a fan of vitamin C and garlic pills. Like the word implies, it involves using the power of nature to keep us healthy and help us get better when we are sick. Prevention and being proactive about our health is a biggie in this type of medicine, which is something I just love. Also, looking at each person as a whole being rather than just their illness is another part of naturopathy. For someone who has cancer, I think this would be incredibly important.

Examples of naturopathic medicine include homeopathy, clinical nutrition, Chinese medicine, natural supplements like vitamins and minerals, and herbal remedies. Naturopathic physicians and/or clinicians are specialists in this type of medicine.

From what I’ve been reading, naturopathic medicine can be a great addition to traditional cancer treatments.

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Many hospitals and doctors are seeing the patient benefit of alternative care. Here in Portland, Oregon, an addition to the hospital just for cancer incorporates alternative care in the same building.
I went through alternative care along with my chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer from the sugestion of my oncologist.It made me feel empowered, I was doing something proactive for me to get through the process.

July 22, 2009 - 7:29pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.