Nutritional approaches to cancer include antioxidant and vitamin supplementation and the use of numerous herbal extracts. There are many herbs that have been shown to have anticancer, immune enhancing, and symptom reducing properties, and patients are recommended to consult competent herbalists for herbal support. Keith Block is a conventional physician and oncologist who is integrating many alternative practices into his cancer treatment center affiliated with the Chicago Medical School in Illinois.
His program seeks to provide individualized cancer treatment using conventional therapies while integrating alternative healing techniques. Block advocates a special diet based on vegetarianism and macrobiotics , exercise, psychological support, and herbal and nutritional supplements. Block's program has received acclaim for both treatment success and satisfaction of patients. Antineoplaston therapy was developed by Stanislaw Burzynski, a Polish physician who began practicing in Houston , Texas.
Burzynski has isolated a chemical, deficient in those with cancer, which he believes stops cancer growth, and his treatment has shown some promise. Joseph Gold, the director of the Syracuse Cancer Research Institute, discovered that the chemical hydrazine sulfate has many positive effects in cancer patients, including stopping weight loss, shrinking tumors, and increasing survival rates. The Livingston therapy was developed by the late Dr. Virginia Livingston, an American physician.
She asserted that cancer is caused by certain bacteria that she claimed are present in all tumors. She advocated a detoxification program and special diet that emphasized raw or lightly cooked and primarily vegetarian foods, with special vitamin and nutritional supplements. The Gerson therapy was for years the best known nutritional therapy for cancer.
It is available in two clinics in California and Mexico. It consists of a basic vegetarian diet low in salt and fat, with high doses of particular nutrients using raw fruit and vegetable juices. The Gerson therapy also requires patients to drink raw calf's liver juice, believed to aid the liver, and advocates frequent coffee enemas, which are claimed to help the body evacuate toxins. The aim of allopathic conventional cancer treatment is to remove all or as much of the tumor as possible and to prevent the recurrence or spread of the primary tumor.
Cancer pain - Wikipedia
While devising a conventional treatment plan for cancer, the likelihood of curing the cancer has to be weighed against the side effects of the treatment. If the cancer is very aggressive and a cure is not possible, then the treatment should be aimed at relieving symptoms and controlling the cancer for as long as possible. Cancer treatment can take many different forms, and it is always tailored to the individual patient. The decision on which type of treatment is the most appropriate depends on the type and location of cancer, the extent to which it has already spread, the patient's age, sex, general health status, and personal treatment preferences.
The major types of treatment are: surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, and bone marrow transplantation. Surgery is the removal of a visible tumor and is the most frequently used cancer treatment. It is most effective when a cancer is small and confined to one area of the body. Surgery can be used for many purposes. Treatment of cancer by surgery involves removal of the tumor to cure the disease. Along with the cancer, some part of the normal surrounding tissue may also be removed to ensure that no cancer cells remain in the area.
Since cancer usually spreads via the lymphatic system , adjoining lymph nodes may be examined and sometimes removed, as well. Preventive or prophylactic surgery involves removal of an abnormal looking area that is likely to become malignant over time. The most definitive tool for diagnosing cancer is a biopsy.
Sometimes a biopsy can be performed by inserting a needle through the skin. However, at other times, the only way to obtain tissue sample for biopsy is by performing a surgical operation. Radiation kills tumor cells. Radiation is used alone in cases where a tumor is unsuitable for surgery. More often, it is used in conjunction with surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation can be either external or internal. In the external form, the radiation is aimed at the tumor from outside the body. In internal radiation also known as brachytherapy , a radioactive substance in the form of pellets or liquid is placed at the cancerous site by means of a pill, injection, or insertion in a sealed container.
Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. It destroys the hard-to-detect cancer cells that have spread and are circulating in the body. Chemotherapeutic drugs can be taken either orally or intravenously, and may be given alone or in conjunction with surgery, radiation, or both.
The toxic effects of chemotherapy are severe. In , a new technique was developed to streamline identification of drug compounds that are toxic to cancerous cells but not to healthy cells. The technique identified nine drugs, one of which had never before been identified for use in cancer treatment. Researchers began looking into developing the new drug for possible use. In addition, it may make the body less tolerant to the side effects of other treatments that follow, such as radiation therapy. The more common use of chemotherapy is adjuvant therapy, which is given to enhance the effectiveness of other treatments.
For example, after surgery, adjuvant chemotherapy is given to destroy any cancerous cells that still remain in the body.
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Immunotherapy uses the body's own immune system to destroy cancer cells. This form of treatment is being intensively studied in clinical trials and is not yet widely available to most cancer patients. The various immunological agents being tested include substances produced by the body such as the interferons, interleukins, and growth factors , monoclonal antibodies, and vaccines. Unlike traditional vaccines, cancer vaccines do not prevent cancer.
Instead, they are designed to treat people who already have the disease. Cancer vaccines work by boosting the body's immune system and training the immune cells to specifically destroy cancer cells.
Hormone therapy is standard treatment for some types of cancers that are hormone-dependent and grow faster in the presence of particular hormones. These include cancer of the prostate, breast, and uterus. Hormone therapy involves blocking the production or action of these hormones. As a result, the growth of the tumor slows down and survival may be extended for several months or years.
However, in , the Women's Health Initiative found that even relatively short-term use of estrogen plus progestin is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, diagnosis at a more advanced stage of the disease, and a higher number of abnormal mammograms. The longer a woman used HRT, the more her risk increased.
This contradicted earlier beliefs that HRT could prevent breast cancer. So checking with a physician for the latest information is advised. The bone marrow is the tissue within the bone cavities that contains blood-forming cells. Healthy bone marrow tissue constantly replenishes the blood supply and is essential to life.
Sometimes, the amount of drugs or radiation needed to destroy cancer cells also unfortunately destroys bone marrow. Replacing the bone marrow with healthy cells counteracts this adverse effect. A bone marrow transplant is the removal of marrow from one person and the transplant of the blood-forming cells either to the same person or to someone else. Bone marrow transplantation , while not a therapy in itself, is often used to rescue a patient, by allowing those with cancer to undergo very aggressive therapy.
In , interest grew in adding hyperthermia to conventional therapy such as radiation. By raising tumors to high fever temperatures, the performance of certain cancer drugs was noted.
Hyperthermia is thought to destroy cancer cells much the same way that the body uses fever to naturally combat other forms of disease. Many different specialists generally work together as a team to treat cancer patients. An oncologist is a physician who specializes in cancer care. The oncologist provides chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and any other non-surgical treatment that does not involve radiation.
The oncologist often serves as the primary physician and coordinates the patient's treatment plan. There are many other specialists involved in cancer treatment, and virtually any type of medical or surgical specialist may become involved with care of the cancer patient, should it become necessary. Lifetime risk is the term that cancer researchers use to refer to the probability that an individual, over the course of a lifetime, will develop cancer or die from it.
In the United States, men have a one in two lifetime risk of developing cancer, and for women the risk is one in three. Overall, African Americans are more likely to develop cancer than Caucasians. Many cancers are curable if detected and treated at their early stages. A cancer patient's prognosis is affected by many factors, particularly the type of cancer the patient has, the stage of the cancer, the extent to which it has metastasized, and the aggressiveness of the cancer.
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In addition, the patient's age, general health status, and the effectiveness of the treatment being pursued are also important factors. To help predict the future course and outcome of the disease and the likelihood of recovery from the disease, doctors often use statistics.
The five-year survival rates are the most common measures used. The number refers to the proportion of people with cancer who are expected to be alive five years after initial diagnosis, compared with a similar population that is free of cancer. It is important to note that while statistics can give some information about the average survival experience of cancer patients in a given population, they cannot be used to indicate individual prognosis, because no two patients or cancers are exactly alike.
The unpredictability of cancer can be seen as positive, as well as negative — some patients have experienced recoveries in cases that were deemed incurable.
Alternative medicine rarely claims to be able to cure cancer on a regular basis, but many treatments seem to help with controlling symptoms, controlling the pain and side effects of conventional treatments, and increasing the quality of life for cancer sufferers. Alternative therapies have also shown unexpected results and cures. Alternative therapies may be strongest as preventative measures, before major problems like cancer occur in the body. Most practitioners agree that the best treatment for cancer is prevention.
Having sound physical and mental health can significantly reduce the chances of getting cancer. The following guidelines are generally recommended by doctors, nutritionists, and alternative practitioners for cancer prevention and recovery:. Galland, Leo, m. The Four Pillars of Healing. Walters, Richard. Natural Health, Natural Medicine. Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer.