No alternative therapy has even been shown to cure cancer. Talk with your doctor about any vitamins, supplements, herbal products, or other alternative or holistic therapies you use. Although a number of such remedies have been suggested as alternatives to surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, use great caution if you're considering them. Little or no evidence exists to support their effectiveness, and they may prove extremely dangerous if used in addition to or in lieu of traditional therapy. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns against trying any product without discussing it with your doctor first. "Reputable medical and cancer experts generally do not recommend alternative products and practices because there’s no proof that they are effective treatments for cancer," cautions the FTC. Medical fraud is big business. Don't be fooled by the following, which might be inaccurate or meaningless:
- Products that claim to be the latest new treatment
- Ads that say a product was previously available only in Europe or only to a certain group of people, such as celebrity clients
- Products that claim to offer a money-back guarantee
- Products marketed as being natural, which the FTC cautions are often ineffective or harmful
- Puffed-up language, which is often deceptive. In fact, the impressive "medical words" used in some ads are coined by the scam artists themselves
Nevertheless, some alternative or complimentary treatments can be helpful in relieving stress, anxiety, pain, and other side effects of clinical cancer treatments:
Mind-body therapy techniques such as yoga, biofeedback, aromatherapy, meditation, tai chi, and many others are helpful in easing the emotional distress that comes along with a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment for many patients. Most of these therapeutic treatments are safe for most patients, but always consult with your doctor before initiating a new treatment.
Herbs and Supplements
There is no scientific data to confirm the effectiveness of any of herbs and dietary supplements in treating cancer. However, some people do find them helpful in relieving symptoms or side effects of medical treatments. As always, make sure to consult with your doctor before adding anything new to your diet.