Skin Cancer Alternative Treatments

Written by the Healthline Editorial Team | Published on October 10, 2014
Medically Reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA on October 10, 2014

Skin Cancer Alternative Treatments

There is no evidence that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can cure skin cancer. Yet CAM tends to have few, if any, side effects and is sometimes used along with standard treatments. Always check with your doctor before trying any CAM treatments. Some herbal therapies may interfere with your medications.

Green Tea

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), research shows that drinking four or more cups of green tea a day may help prevent skin cancer. Green tea is packed with antioxidants, which help prevent the cell damage that can lead to skin cancer.

Herbs

Although there is little to no research on their effectiveness, herbs that are high in antioxidants are believed to have skin-protecting properties. Some of these herbs include:

  • ginkgo
  • milk thistle
  • ginger
  • bilberry
  • hawthorn

Massage and Physical Therapy

Massage can help people with skin cancer manage their pain. It promotes relaxation and alleviates the stress that can come with treatments. In cases where surgery has removed lymph nodes, people can benefit from the strength training and stretching of physical therapy.  

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure are directed at lessening pain in cancer patients. Acupuncture is the technique of inserting ultra-thin needles at key points of the body. According to the National Cancer Institute, acupuncture can boost the immune system in people with cancer and can also release the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins. Acupressure uses the hands to apply pressure at specific body points and relieve stress.

Meditation

Meditation can be a valuable tool in CAM. It can be used to help calm the mind, relieve stress, and promote relaxation. Each of these effects can relieve pain and discomfort. While there are various forms of meditation, many of them share common characteristics. These include limiting distractions, maintaining a gentle attitude, and finding a comfortable sitting position to help with focus. 

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