Many mesothelioma patients are turning to alternative medicine to augment or replace their traditional cancer therapies. Alternative therapies are becoming more popular because conventional therapies tend to involve harsh treatments like chemotherapy and radiation that can leave the body extremely weak and fatigued.
Elderly patients, or those in late stages of cancer, often feel they benefit more from alternative therapies because they are more fragile than the typical patient and more vulnerable to the side effects seen with more conventional therapies.
A variety of alternative therapy choices are available for mesothelioma patients, including nutritional supplements, meditation, yoga, acupuncture and massage.
Homeopathy is another increasingly popular alternative medicine choice for many patients. Homeopathy uses diluted doses of medicines and herbs to mimic the symptoms of the disease being treated. The principle behind homeopathy is “like treating like”. The medicines are diluted in measured steps, until the desired level of dilution is reached. The resulting form of medicine makes it much more gentle on the body- something that can be very appealing to patients accustomed to a harsher form of treatment.
Homeopathic agents are given to the patient, which imitate the symptoms of the underlying disease. This is utilized to treat the patient, not the tumor. Homeopathic treatment may include natural remedies like plant extracts, teas, and herbs.
Alternative and Traditional Medicines
Traditional medicine and alternative medicine have different philosophies when it comes to treating cancer. If you think of cancer as a weed, traditional medicine focuses on destroying the weed, while alternative and integrative medicine involves focusing on the soil the weed is growing in, and making it inhospitable to the weed growing and thriving.
Many cancer patients feel a loss of control after their cancer diagnosis and treatment begins. Integrative medicine helps them regain some sense of control over their treatment and lives. There are things that they can be doing themselves to restore their own health. Integrative medicine puts some powerful tools in their hands.
Most patients seem to prefer combining the traditional treatment they are already undergoing with alternative methods. They feel they are getting the best of both worlds using this approach. When traditional therapies and alternative medicine are used together, the result is called integrative medicine. The alternative treatment is sometimes called complementary medicine.
One of the simplest, most basic ways a patient can incorporate integrative alternative medicine into their traditional cancer treatment is through dietary changes. The body can fight off cancer or manage side effects from therapies more effectively with proper nutritional support. Hospital staffers like nutritionists or dieticians are available at most hospitals and cancer centers. Some medical centers even have oncologists trained in helping patients create a custom diet to help fight cancer and deal with side effects from traditional treatment.
Probably the best dietary change for mesothelioma patients is to maintain a normal weight. Obesity has been found to increase the risk of developing cancer and interferes with the body’s ability to fight the cancer. A plant-focused diet will also improve overall health, energy levels, mood, and support the immune system.
Precautions with Homeopathy
Most alternative and homeopathic treatments have few side effects, but some herbal supplements can actually interfere with traditional treatments, lessening their effects or proving harmful when combined with other medications. Many chemotherapy agents have warning labels to not combine them with certain other substances to avoid lessening their effects or harming patients outright. It is important that patients considering alternative medicine consult with their doctors prior to taking anything outside of their prescribed routine.