There's integration happening between traditional cancer care and adjunct alternative therapies. Find out if new developments could help you.
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Female Speaker: I was 44 at the time of diagnosis. I said, oh, I don't have breast cancer, do I? And he said, yeah, you absolutely do. Dr. Dean Edell: A diagnosis of cancer conjures up thoughts of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, but doctors are learning, it's important not just to treat the disease, but the physical and emotional side effects as well. This can involve a range of therapies, from natural medicines, to complementary treatments that can help battle effects of cancer. Male Speaker: I was pretty sure I had cancer. Female Speaker: And it came back that it was cancerous. Female Speaker: And that was a total surprise, I didn't expect that at all. Male Speaker: I knew the complications of chemotherapy and radiation. Male Speaker: The side effects, which can be so bad. Dr. Dean Edell: Depending on the type and stage, cancer can be treated with drugs, surgery, and radiation. Dr. Timothy Birdsall: Oftentimes patients look to natural therapies as a way to regain some part of control. Dr. Dean Edell: A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that 69% of cancer patients have used at least one complementary or alternative therapy as part of their treatment. Dr. Ed Staren: Complementary therapies allow the body to utilize many of its mechanisms, some of which may be deficient because of the cancer. Dr. Dean Edell: There is an important but. Dr. Ed Staren: They also have their own negative effects, and if that's not known to the physician, that can have dire consequences for the patient. Dr. Dean Edell: Though with proper supervision, integrating natural medicine, not in place of, but in conjunction with conventional therapy, can fight side effects, provide disease fighting nutrition, and restore strength. Many patients experience nausea while undergoing chemotherapy, which is still a standard treatment. Harry Raftopoulos: It's very distressing to them, and it really impacts their whole treatment after that. Dr. Dean Edell: Drugs can help sometimes, but not always. Now researchers are also looking at natural remedies. Male Speaker: Ginger has been researched for a variety of types of nausea, including nausea related to chemotherapy. Also, the herb, peppermint, can be very useful in controlling that nausea. Dr. Dean Edell: But nausea is not the only side effect. Allen Clark: I still have some problems with swallowing and eating after the radiation and chemotherapy. Dr. Dean Edell: Plastic surgeon, Allen Clark, is battling throat cancer. Bill Carroll: It's almost you are drinking hot coffee that's too hot and you burn your throat. Dr. Dean Edell: Patients are often put on a feeding tube just to keep them nourished. But doctors noticed patients who continue to eat and drink on their own during cancer treatment, and were given a series of exercises, avoided some of the scarring that causes swallowing trouble. Allen Clark: One exercise was to hold my tongue between my teeth and swallow, and so I would drink and swallow like that. Dr. Dean Edell: It's clear, nutrition can be a challenge. Male Speaker: Sometimes we do need to really kind of pack some calories in it, so we may create protein shakes for patients so that they are getting concentrated nutrition. Dr. Dean Edell: Certain foods are being studied as cancer fighter, such as soy for prostrate cancer. Nagi Kumar: We noticed that over 70% of them reduced PSA. Dr. Dean Edell: PSA is the measure for prostate cancer. However, what's good for one cancer may not be good for another. Male Speaker: The woman with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, we don't want her to consume soy, because there is a risk that, that may actually stimulate the cancer to grow. Dr. Dean Edell: Another challenge, restoring physical and emotional strength. Male Speaker: Moderately aggressive walking program can significantly improve patients' energy levels. Dr. Dean Edell: In fact, activities once taboo are now empowering survivors to fight lingering conse