Cancer Treatment Options for Everyone
Updated: Dec 23, 2019
This is our final chapter for October’s Cancer Awareness. I pray that none of you ever need to make these types of decisions but it’s very likely that you have either made them for yourself or helped a loved one through cancer at some point. I speak a lot about holistic health and wanted to be fair on all sides of medicine. So today, I am going to go over different types of cancer treatments from the Mayo Clinic that discusses both traditional and holistic treatment options available.
First, I want to say that recently researchers have found that Vitamin C has a lot more potency than just preventing colds and flu. It can also prevent and fight cancer. The great news about this is that unless you have a rare medical condition, then you will not overdose on Vitamin C. Your body uses it up quickly. So, if you are unable to handle orange juice daily then you can eat fruits such as oranges or take Vit C supplements. If you feel a cold coming on you can take a little extra and not worry about side effects. So, eat those fruits, veggies, and drinks that are full of vitamin C and take vitamin C supplements if needed.
Now, let’s get started with cancer treatment options described directly from the Mayo Clinic Staff.
Cancer treatment By Mayo Clinic Staff
Cancer treatment is the use of surgery, radiation, medications and other therapies to cure cancer, shrink cancer or stop the progression of cancer.
Many cancer treatments exist. Depending on your particular situation, you may receive one treatment or you may receive a combination of treatments.
The goal of cancer treatment is to achieve a cure for your cancer, allowing you to live a normal life span. This may or may not be possible, depending on your specific situation. If a cure isn't possible, your treatments may be used to shrink your cancer or slow the growth of your cancer to allow you to live symptom-free for as long as possible.
Cancer treatments may be used as:
Primary treatment- The goal of a primary treatment is to completely remove cancer from your body or kill all the cancer cells.
Any cancer treatment can be used as a primary treatment, but the most common primary cancer treatment for the most common types of cancer are surgery. If your cancer is particularly sensitive to radiation therapy or chemotherapy, you may receive one of those therapies as your primary treatment.
Adjuvant treatment- The goal of adjuvant therapy is to kill any cancer cells that may remain after primary treatment in order to reduce the chance that cancer will recur.
Any cancer treatment can be used as adjuvant therapy. Common adjuvant therapies include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.
Neoadjuvant therapy is similar, but treatments are used before the primary treatment in order to make the primary treatment easier or more effective.
Palliative treatment-Palliative treatments may help relieve the side effects of treatment or signs and symptoms caused by cancer itself. Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and hormone therapy can all be used to relieve symptoms. Other medications may relieve symptoms such as pain and shortness of breath.
Palliative treatment can be used at the same time as other treatments intended to cure your cancer.
Many cancer treatments are available. Your treatment options will depend on several factors, such as the type and stage of your cancer, your general health, and your preferences. Together you and your doctor can weigh the benefits and risks of each cancer treatment to determine which is best for you.
Cancer treatment options include:
Surgery- The goal of surgery is to remove cancer or as much of cancer as possible.
Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells.
Radiation therapy- Radiation therapy uses high-powered energy beams, such as X-rays or protons, to kill cancer cells. Radiation treatment can come from a machine outside your body (external beam radiation), or it can be placed inside your body (brachytherapy).
Bone marrow transplant. Your bone marrow is the material inside your bones that makes blood cells from blood stem cells. A bone marrow transplant, also knowns as a stem cell transplant can use your own bone marrow stem cells or those from a donor.
A bone marrow transplant allows your doctor to use higher doses of chemotherapy to treat your cancer. It may also be used to replace diseased bone marrow.
Immunotherapy-Immunotherapy, also known as biological therapy, uses your body's immune system to fight cancer. Cancer can survive unchecked in your body because your immune system doesn't recognize it as an intruder. Immunotherapy can help your immune system "see" cancer and attack it.
Hormone therapy- Some types of cancer are fueled by your body's hormones. Examples include breast cancer and prostate cancer. Removing those hormones from the body or blocking their effects may cause the cancer cells to stop growing.
Targeted drug Therapy- Targeted drug treatment focuses on specific abnormalities within cancer ce therapy-lls that allow them to survive.
Cryoablation- This treatment kills cancer cells with cold. During cryoablation, a thin, wandlike needle (cryoprobe) is inserted through your skin and directly into the cancerous tumor. Gas is pumped into the cryoprobe in order to freeze the tissue. Then the tissue is allowed to thaw. The freezing and thawing process is repeated several times during the same treatment session in order to kill the cancer cells.
Radiofrequency ablation- This treatment uses electrical energy to heat cancer cells, causing them to die. During radiofrequency ablation, a doctor guides a thin needle through the skin or through an incision and into the cancer tissue. High-frequency energy passes through the needle and causes the surrounding tissue to heat up, killing the nearby cells.
Clinical trials-Clinical trials are studies to investigate new ways of treating cancer. Thousands of cancer clinical trials are underway.
Other treatments may be available to you, depending on your type of cancer.
Now that you know the various cancer treatment options from a traditional point of view, let’s take a look at some alternative cancer treatments available.
Alternative cancer treatments: 10 options to consider
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Many people with cancer are interested in trying anything that may help them, including complementary and alternative cancer treatments. If cancer makes you feel as if you have little control over your health, alternative cancer treatments may offer some feeling of control. But many alternative cancer treatments are unproven and some may even be dangerous.
To help you sort out the good from the bad, here are 10 alternative cancer treatments that are generally safe. Plus, there is growing evidence that these 10 alternative cancer treatments may provide some benefit.
How can alternative medicine help people with cancer?
Alternative cancer treatments may not play a direct role in curing your cancer, but they may help you cope with signs and symptoms caused by cancer and cancer treatments. Common signs and symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, pain, difficulty sleeping, and stress may be lessened by alternative treatments.
Integrating the best of evidence-based complementary and alternative cancer treatments with the treatments you receive from your doctor may help relieve many of the symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment. Discuss all of your options with your doctor and together you can determine which strategies might work for you and which are likely to have no benefit.
Work closely with your doctor to determine the right balance between traditional medicines and alternative cancer treatments. While complementary and alternative cancer treatments, such as acupuncture, may reduce nausea or pain, they generally aren't powerful enough to replace cancer medications from your doctor.
If you're experiencing:
Then consider trying:
Hypnosis, massage, meditation, relaxation techniques
Exercise, massage, relaxation techniques, yoga
Nausea and vomiting
Acupuncture, aromatherapy, hypnosis, music therapy
Acupuncture, aromatherapy, hypnosis, massage, music therapy
Exercise, relaxation techniques, yoga
Aromatherapy, exercise, hypnosis, massage, meditation, tai chi, yoga
Which alternative cancer treatments are worth trying?
These 10 alternative cancer treatments have shown some promise in helping people with cancer. Talk to your doctor if you're interested in trying:
Acupuncture- During an acupuncture treatment, a practitioner inserts tiny needles into your skin at precise points. Studies show acupuncture may be helpful in relieving nausea caused by chemotherapy. Acupuncture may also help relieve certain types of pain in people with cancer.
Acupuncture is safe if it's performed by a licensed practitioner using sterile needles. Ask your doctor for names of trusted practitioners. Acupuncture isn't safe if you're taking blood thinners or if you have low blood counts, so check with your doctor first.
Aromatherapy- Aromatherapy uses fragrant oils to provide a calming sensation. Oils, infused with scents such as lavender, can be applied to your skin during a massage, or the oils can be added to bathwater. Fragrant oils can also be heated to release their scents into the air. Aromatherapy may be helpful in relieving nausea, pain, and stress.
Aromatherapy can be performed by a practitioner, or you can use aromatherapy on your own. Aromatherapy is safe, though oils applied to your skin can cause allergic reactions. People with cancer that is estrogen-sensitive, such as some breast cancers, should avoid applying large amounts of lavender oil and tea tree oil to the skin.
Exercise- Exercise may help you manage signs and symptoms during and after cancer treatment. Gentle exercise may help relieve fatigue and stress and help you sleep better. Many studies now show that an exercise program may help people with cancer live longer and improve their overall quality of life.
If you haven't already been exercising regularly, check with your doctor before you begin an exercise program. Start slowly, adding more exercise as you go. Aim to work your way up to at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
Hypnosis- Hypnosis is a deep state of concentration. During a hypnotherapy session, a therapist may hypnotize you by talking in a gentle voice and helping you relax. The therapist will then help you focus on goals, such as controlling your pain and reducing your stress.
Hypnosis may be helpful for people with cancer who are experiencing anxiety, pain, and stress. It may also help prevent anticipatory nausea and vomiting that can occur if chemotherapy has made you sick in the past. When performed by a certified therapist, hypnosis is safe. But tell your therapist if you have a history of mental illness.
Massage- During a massage, your practitioner kneads your skin, muscles, and tendons in an effort to relieve muscle tension and stress and promote relaxation. Several massage methods exist. Massage can be light and gentle, or it can be deep with more pressure.
Studies have found massage can be helpful in relieving pain in people with cancer. It may also help relieve anxiety, fatigue, and stress.
Massage can be safe if you work with a knowledgeable massage therapist. Many cancer centers have massage therapists on staff, or your doctor can refer you to a massage therapist who regularly works with people who have cancer.
Don't have a massage if your blood counts are very low. Ask the massage therapist to avoid massaging near surgical scars, radiation treatment areas or tumors. If you have cancer in your bones or other bone diseases, such as osteoporosis, ask the massage therapist to use light pressure, rather than deep massage.
Meditation-Meditation is a state of deep concentration when you focus your mind on one image, sound or idea, such as a positive thought. When meditating, you might also do deep-breathing or relaxation exercises. Meditation may help people with cancer by relieving anxiety and stress.
Meditation is generally safe. You can meditate on your own for a few minutes once or twice a day or you can take a class with an instructor.
Music therapy- During music therapy sessions, you might listen to music, play instruments, sing songs or write lyrics. A trained music therapist may lead you through activities designed to meet your specific needs, or you may participate in music therapy in a group setting. Music therapy may help relieve pain and control nausea and vomiting.
Music therapy is safe and doesn't require any musical talent to participate. Many medical centers have certified music therapists on staff.
Relaxation techniques- Relaxation techniques are ways of focusing your attention on calming your mind and relaxing your muscles. Relaxation techniques might include activities such as visualization exercises or progressive muscle relaxation.
Relaxation techniques may be helpful in relieving anxiety and fatigue. They may also help people with cancer sleep better.
Relaxation techniques are safe. Typically, a therapist leads you through these exercises and eventually you may be able to do them on your own or with the help of guided relaxation recordings.
Tai chi- Tai chi is a form of exercise that incorporates gentle movements and deep breathing. Tai chi can be led by an instructor, or you can learn tai chi on your own following books or videos. Practicing tai chi may help relieve stress.
Tai chi is generally safe. The slow movements of tai chi don't require great physical strength, and the exercises can be easily adapted to your own abilities. Still, talk to your doctor before beginning tai chi. Don't do any tai chi moves that cause pain.
Yoga- Yoga combines stretching exercises with deep breathing. During a yoga session, you position your body in various poses that require bending, twisting and stretching. There are many types of yoga, each with its own variations.
Yoga may provide some stress relief for people with cancer. Yoga has also been shown to improve sleep and reduce fatigue.
Before beginning a yoga class, ask your doctor to recommend an instructor who regularly works with people with health concerns, such as cancer. Avoid yoga poses that cause pain. A good instructor can give you alternative poses that are safe for you.
You may find some alternative treatments work well together. For instance, deep breathing during a massage may provide further stress relief.
Cancer terms: Treatment. ASCO Cancer.Net.https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/cancer-basics/cancer-terms-treatment. Accessed. March 14, 2018.
Searching for cancer centers. American College of Surgeons. https://www.facs.org/search/cancer-programs. Accessed March 28, 2018.