A retrospective study of patients with nonmetastatic breast, lung, colorectal, or prostate cancer who replaced conventional therapy with alternative treatments and matched patients who received conventional therapy evaluated survival outcomes over a median follow-up time of 66 months. Analyzed separately, survival was substantially shorter for patients with breast, lung, and colorectal cancer, but not in those with prostate cancer.
In addition, prostate cancer generally has a slow natural progression, and the follow-up time in this study was too short to detect any differences.
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Another similar retrospective study included 1. However, when adjusted for treatment refusal or delay, this association was no longer significant, suggesting that the increased risk of death is not necessarily due to the use of complementary medicine itself, but due to conventional treatment refusal or delay.
However, these products have not been investigated in large scale clinical trials. Their benefits and side effects as treatments for cancer remain unclear. Detoxification with herbs: Some alternative medicine practitioners advocate use of herbs to detoxify the body. This is based on traditional medicine theory that diseases are caused by the accumulation of toxins, which need to be purged to relieve symptoms and to maintain health.
The herbs used typically have laxative, diuretic, or sweat-promoting effects. Inappropriate use can be dangerous and may cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Most physicians agree that detoxification is not necessary and advise against such practices. Very disturbing. I was feeling normal and well when all of sudden I day I was constipated and at the same time difficult to urinate.
I wasted no time consulting my doctor who immediately sent me within in a week or so sent me for 3 different ultra sounds and a blood test. Now, A according to the test results he said that I may have stage 3 ovarian cancer. However, to be certain he has passed me on to further medical tests He said the only confirmation is to go through this process and then begin treatment accordingly. Could you please give me your take on my devastating position which is causing me an awful lot of mental and emotional turmoil. Thanking you in anticipation of your reply.
Dear Jean, we are sorry to hear about your diagnosis. If you would like to make an appointment with one of our specialists to discuss your treatment options and next steps in your care, please call our Physician Referral Service at We understand that emotional and psychological impact that cancer diagnosis and treatment can have, and we offer a range of support programs and counseling for people who are treated at MSK. If you are not an MSK patient and are seeking support resources, CancerCare is a good organization to contact.
My young daughter has had a second relapse with Neuroblastoma and we are out of curative options. We are likely to start MIBG therapy to slow progression. There is an option to do this with Topotecan as a radio sensitiser. For many years I have avoided any herbal supplements including cannabis oil because of lack of evidence and my concern about drug-herb interaction.
However, now that we are out of curative approaches in traditional medicine, I am looking at our options - this is merely an act of desperation, and not based on any rational decision making. Do you know whether any herbal treatments can have a radiosensitising impact or inhibition and can you see any risks of the use of herbal treatments alongside systemic radiation treatment like MIBG therapy?
He responded:. Taking herbal supplements when undergoing radiation therapy may increase the risk of peripheral damage or reduce the effectiveness of treatment. Therefore, we generally do not recommend using herbal supplements during cancer treatment unless we clearly understand their risks and benefits. I've gone through many articles on testimonials and claims that people beat cancer with natural therapies. But, what really intrigued me was how in each one of these articles, they all state that the body naturally recognizes these cancer cells and eradicates them.
When something "wrong" happens occurs to the body, then this is when someone has cancer.
What is herbal medicine?
Can you please share your thoughts on this? Dear James, we recommend that you check out the following resources if you are interested in learning about how cancer arises:. My daughter was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in Sep Immediately she underwent left salpingo oophorectomy and exploratory laparotomy.
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She recurred in with 2 tumors in abdominal wall, which were removed surgically. In Dec it metasticized to her lungs and now to her rib bones. She is also currently undergoing acupuncture and taking traditional chinese herb medicine. Under the circumstance is it advisable now to just continue with acupuncture or go for immunotherapy in combination with acupuncture. Certain herbs and supplements may make treatment less effective or have negative interactions with certain medicines like chemotherapy.
We also recommend that she follow up with her doctor to discuss the most appropriate next steps in her treatment plan. My mother has metastatic sarcoma I was wondering if hyperbaric oxygen therapy would be beneficial in shrinking her tumors.
MSK advocates integrative or complementary medicine treatments given in addition to the standard of care to alleviate symptoms and side effects but does not support alternative medicine treatment given instead of standard cancer care. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has not been demonstrated to be more effective than conventional treatments for sarcoma.
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My husband has had stage 4 prostate cancer with mets to the bones since He was on ADT with Lupron in combination with various other meds for 2 years, then it failed. However he has been ingesting marijuana oil during this whole time. He is toxic using zytiga, although it works, his liver enzymes lwent to 8x ULN. So he stopped it. Now he has been using enzalutamide also with eligard for more than a year, but that has also failed.
Currently he is on enzalutamide, Eligard, and chemotherapy with Docitaxel. Which has lowered his PSA.
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He ingests marijuana oil times a day, along with the above. After 7 years in stage IV, the cancer has NOT spread to any soft tissue, liver, lungs, pancreas, other soft tissue organs, and we believe that the cannabis oil is responsible for the inhibition of that spread to the soft tissue. So regardless of the lack of research, we are doing our own research, and it is helping keep the spread down.
I need to know yes I know that some of these herbs make chemo less effective whether Taxotere is one of the drugs affected by combining with any of the following alternative herbs. He takes chaga, essiac and cannabis oil. Along with Enzalutamide, eligard, and now taxotere.
Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer
All his liver enzymes are in the low normal range, as is his alk phos, bili, and now even the PSA 2. Hi Darlene, we recommend that your husband discuss any herbs he is taking with his healthcare team. You may also want to refer to our About Herbs website, which contains some information about drug interactions. Hi this is just a question I been meaning to ask for a long time, is there any blood work anyone can do to detect and sings for any type of cancer?
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Dear Fernando, yes, there are special blood tests that measure tumor markers released by cancer cells and sometimes by healthy cells in the blood. These tests may be used to diagnose cancer or detect its return, plan and monitor treatment, or predict prognosis. My wife was recently diagnosed with breast cancer with DCIS following a biopsy and mri that showed the tumor. Before she decides on treatment surgery she is getting 2nd opinions.
I have some questions: 1. I have read that just the act of doing a biopsy can cause metastasis and that doctors don't often even discuss this risk with patients though a biopsy is required for diagnostic. Here are the answers to your questions:. My son has testicular cancer and was treated at your hospital a couple of years ago. After a year his markers started to go up, because we live in Maine I sent him Chaga Mushrooms and he went on a strict no sugar diet, his markers came down to normal levels after a couple of months.
Is there any new information on mushrooms and diet,particularly the no sugar diet? Is there someone there that he can talk to at your hospital. He lives in the area. Margaret, there have been no human studies demonstrating that Chaga mushrooms have anticancer properties, and they may in fact be toxic at high doses. You can learn more by going to our About Herbs database, at www. We recommend that your son call to make an appointment to speak with his MSK doctor. Gonzalez, MD later studied this proclamation and found to have some success. In addition to a diet change, the therapy focuses its efforts on reducing inflammation through proteolytic enzymes.
Physicians that use this treatment recommend five grams of enzymes three times daily. Many of the natural alternatives to chemo and radiation take a closer look at diet — and for a good reason. According to some reports , maybe. Researchers have found that high-dose vitamin C treatments can prolong the life of cancer patients and even help reduce certain symptoms.
This type of treatment is often used by holistic cancer doctors — and proven successful — but has not gone through proper clinical trials to back that up on a conventional level. Some experts believe frankincense essential oil can reduce cancer. Essential oils might also be beneficial for fighting cancer without chemotherapy. German biochemist, Dr.
Johanna Budwig believed frankincense essential oil was a powerful tool in fighting off cancer, specifically brain cancer. As it turns out, he might have been right.