Chemotherapy alternatives

Chemotherapy is a treatment for cancer, but many people dread having the treatment due to its uncomfortable side effects; although the side effects can vary significantly from individual to individual, some are still weary to try it, and many wish to have an alternative treatment, or at least be given the option. Thus, there are other treatments for cancer that can be successful, without all of the chemical damage and consequences.

What is chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy is a general term for any type of treatment involving the use of chemical agents to stop cancer cells from growing. Chemotherapy can reach cancer sites from great distances. It can be administered through a vein, injected into a body cavity, or delivered orally in the form of a pill. Unfortunately, it is not a perfect treatment, and the chemicals cannot tell the difference between fast-growing cancer cells and fast-growing healthy cells. Because of this, chemotherapy can damage parts of the body that aren’t meant to be damaged, and the patient is left weak and often sick; the hair and the immune system are often side targets of chemotherapy. The explosion of poisons and toxins in the body, in an effort to kill cancer cells, is unhealthy, and certainly unnatural.

Alternatives to chemotherapy
Since many people like to have the option of a less invasive and less harmful cancer treatment, alternative treatments are offered and can work just as successfully.

Immunotherapy treatments
Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to treat cancer; it does this by stimulating different parts of the immune system (active immunotherapy), or by providing man-made immune system proteins that can be of use (passive immunotherapy). This type of treatment is better for early stage cancer or as a complementary treatment to another type of cancer treatment. The immune system is the body’s personal defense force.

Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
This type of cancer treatment uses a special drug, called a photosynthesizing agent, along with light to kill cancer cells. The drugs will only work if they are “turned on” by some kind of light source. Once activated, the drug reacts with oxygen to form a chemical that will kill the cancer cells. PDT is advantageous because it has no long-term side effects, is less invasive than chemotherapy, it targets the cells very precisely, and is less expensive than many other cancer treatments.

Complementary therapy
Complementary therapies can help relieve the symptoms of cancer, but not necessarily treat it; it can also improve a patient’s overall sense of well-being. Such therapies would include meditation to reduce stress, peppermint or ginger tea to reduce nausea, and guided imagery to help reduce stress or pain. Massage therapy, relaxation, and meditation are all used as complementary therapies.

Pharmacological and biological treatment
There are some other drug treatments used to treat cancer, but not the same as the type of poisons and toxins present in chemotherapy. They include shark cartilage, antineoplaston therapy, cell therapy, coenzyme Q10, DHEA, enzyme therapy, homeopathy, and more. Speak with your health care provider about an in-depth look into these types of treatments.

Insulin potentiation therapy (IPT)
This is a gentler approach, similar to chemotherapy, used to treat cancer. It does not have any of the side effects associated with chemotherapy, though. Insulin opens up the receptors on cancer cells so that more of the drug can get in.

Herbal supplements
Some people may find herbal supplements helpful in reducing the side effects of certain cancer treatments, and possibly the side effects of cancer. However, there is poor evidence for such claims, and this is something that you should thoroughly discuss with your doctor before you start taking herbal supplements.

Last updated on Jan 5th, 2011 and filed under Cancer Research. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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