Cancer: CAM Therapies for Specific Conditions
- A study conducted by Dr. David Spiegel of
the Stanford University School of Medicine documented that hypnotherapy, in conjunction with social support,
doubled survival time for metastatic breast cancer patients.
- One study evaluated the use of hypnotic
imagery with twenty-five
breast cancer patients. Following this intervention, measures of depression and
confusion were reduced, positive states were increased, and the percentage of
natural killer cells in the blood was significantly increased.
- Imagery has been used in the adjunctive care of
cancer patients. Patients were encouraged to imagine their immune system cells
engulfing and devouring vulnerable cancer cells. Many patients have found it
- A study examined relaxation combined
with imagery to affect
immune system function, with potential applications in the treatment of cancer.
- Benefits of imagery and social support were evaluated in a study of women with
breast cancer. It was found that imagery and support groups had a small to
modest positive effect on coping, attitudes, and support, but not on immune
function. In a classic study, a seventeen-year prospective follow-up disclosed
that, among women, social isolation was a risk factor for the onset and
progression of cancer.
- Qi Gong exercise has been studied in China for
its impact on cancer. Numerous papers have been presented at international
conferences over twenty years. However, scientific literature is very limited
in the United States.
- During a study, ninety-three patients
with advanced cancer were treated with a combination of drugs and Qi Gong exercises, while a control group was
treated with drugs alone. Eighty-one percent of the Qi Gong group showed an
improvement in strength, 63 percent in appetite, and 33 percent were free from
diarrhea compared to improvements of 10 percent, 10 percent, and 6 percent, respectively,
in the other group.
- Hospitals and HMOs are increasingly
components in their managed care programs, including psychosocial support
groups for cancer patients.
- Water-insoluble fibers (celluloses and hemicelluloses) protect
against colon cancer by absorbing water, increasing stool volume, and speeding
the passage of stool through the bowel. They also dilute the concentration of
toxic bile acids, which can contribute to cancer.
- To protect against heart disease or
cancer, dosage levels of vitamin E may need to be twenty to thirty times greater than the RDAs.
- According to a study, low blood levels of
(nutritious red pigments found in fruits and vegetables) are associated with
cancer and coronary disease.
- Carotenoid lycopene is ten times more potent than
beta-carotene as an antioxidant, and apparently lowers rates of prostate
- Studies suggest that the nutrient coenzyme
Q10 might be useful in
protecting against breast cancer.
- Coenzyme Q10's antioxidant activity has
led to suggestions that it might be beneficial in the treatment of cancer. In a
study, none of the patients in the supplemented group died, contrary to the
predicted or expected mortality. However, because a number of antioxidants were
used, the results cannot be attributed to Q10 alone.
- Claims for the hormone DHEA include that it combats some cancers.
More than ten thousand scientific papers have been written about DHEA, and two
international conferences have been held on DHEA research.
- Research has shown that low DHEA levels in the blood are associated with
- It has been claimed that the hormone melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that may
reduce the risk of cancer, although that remains unproven.
- In a study, thirty patients with brain
tumors received either radiation therapy alone, or radiation plus melatonin. Survival was higher in patients
receiving the melatonin. Side effects of cancer immunotherapy, such as nausea
from chemotherapy and radiation, were reduced with melatonin. In another study
of patients with gastrointestinal cancer, immune functioning after surgery was
improved by melatonin and immunotherapy.
- Used in conjunction with Western
medicine, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbal preparations are now a popular
approach for addressing certain troublesome diseases, particularly cancer.
- Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has no treatments that are used solely
for cancer, but offers many formulas that help with various symptoms of cancer.
Approximately 120 species of Chinese herbs are used to adjunctively treat
- Acupuncture is a very popular complementary therapy
- In cancer therapy, acupuncture can help control nausea and other side
effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
- Herbs, particularly green tea, are extensively used in the prevention
- Naturopaths often work with allopaths, traditional
Western doctors, in treating cancer. Green tea capsules may be taken in dosages
of 100 mg to 300 mg daily. Green tea may be consumed as often as you like.
- Effects of naturopathic treatment of cancer appear to be
- Ayurvedic traditional Indian medicine offers treatment
for some forms of cancer.
- For years, researchers have attempted to
document the impact of spirituality and religion on health. In recent studies, religious
participation was found to prolong the lives of patients with cancer.
- Preliminary data from an ongoing study
suggest that enhanced spiritual well-being may help women cope with and even survive breast cancer.
- Practicing Mormons develop fewer cases of cancer, cope
better with the cancer they have, and experience better outcomes than Mormons
who are less religious.
- A study of 3,217 Seventh-Day
Adventists in the
Netherlands concluded that Adventist men live 8.9 years longer than the
national norm, Adventist women live 3.6 years longer, and they have a 60
percent lower mortality rate from cancer.
- Support groups have been demonstrated to have a very
positive effect with cancer patients, and may extend life expectancy).
- Pets contribute to positive treatment of cancer as well as
having a positive impact on a wide range of physical and mental disorders,
especially with children and the elderly.
- A noted biofeedback researcher conducted a study of the
application of bioenergetic therapy for the treatment of basal cell carcinoma.
Biofeedback is a training technique that claims to improve a person's control
over autonomic body functions. He found that four of ten patients showed
elimination or reduction of their tumors.
Caution: Beta-carotene, as a
supplement, may present health hazards for certain individuals.
Caution: A study indicated a 28
percent increase in lung cancer in smokers, ex-smokers and asbestos workers
Caution: Chronic ingestion of
5,000 mcg a day of the mineral selenium has been reported to result in
fingernail changes, hair loss, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nerve
problems, fatigue, and irritability. Because vitamin E enhances the effects of
selenium, it may increase this possible toxicity.
Caution: In a study, the
steroid hormone DHEA was found to produce liver cancer in fourteen of sixteen
rats. While this does not necessarily mean it would produce cancer in humans,
if such a response were to occur in human research, DHEA would probably be
banned by the FDA. DHEA is a hormone, and replacing any hormone that declines
normally with aging must be carefully researched. DHEA levels in the blood are
associated with increased body mass and impaired glucose tolerance. Serum
levels of steroids should be monitored medically while taking DHEA supplements.
Most important, there are a number of truly natural, completely safe ways to
increase DHEA: stop smoking, reduce stress, exercise three to five times per
week, take vitamin C, be sure your magnesium intake is adequate, and
occasionally use Siberian ginseng (take 12-16 ml of fluid extract or 100-200 mg
of standardized extract, one to three times per day).
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BEST ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: WHAT WORKS? WHAT DOES NOT? by Dr. Kenneth R.
Copyright © 2000 by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier,
Reprinted by permission of Simon &
Schuster, Inc., New York, New York.
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