I have been using alternative therapies as adjunctive treatments (i.e., ones used alongside traditional approaches) for cancer patients for over two decades. Most of my patients do much better and live much longer and healthier lives because of it. They tell me that when they go in for check-ups with their conventional oncologists, the doctors can’t believe how well they’re doing. Yet, despite the obvious benefits, a lot of those doctors have the nerve to ask these patients if they’re “still doing the ‘hocus-pocus.’”
This sort of disregard and condescending attitude is common in mainstream medicine—especially when it comes to cancer. But the fact is, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has a wealth of options for cancer patients.
CAM therapies are probably most widely accepted for their ability to help relieve pain and control the adverse effects of the disease as well as the often-brutal side effects of conventional treatments like chemo and radiation. But a new scientific review published in the upcoming issue of the journal Current Oncology Reports shows CAM may have even bigger benefits when it comes to cancer…
Evidence from experimental and epidemiologic studies, as well as clinical trials, shows that alternative therapies can actually help you beat the disease.
Increased survival is always the most critical factor to consider when it comes to choosing cancer therapies. Will the treatment, no matter what it is, help you live longer? Sadly, this is a point most integrative oncologists don’t emphasize.
But as this new review shows, there is good evidence from multiple studies that suggests nutrition, certain supplements, physical activity, and stress reduction can indeed have a major effect on survival.
In fact, as one of the study authors put it, “At times, these modalities can actually have a survival effect that could be similar to conventional care.”
Let’s take a look at some of the examples the researchers gave to support their point.
First up—exercise. You might not think of it as an “alternative therapy” per se. But if you’re a cancer patient (or survivor), I would bet that none of your physicians or oncologists ever mentioned it to you. Yet, research has shown physical activity can cut the risk of breast cancer recurrence in HALF. Compare that to the chemo drug tamoxifen, which can reduce the risk of recurrence by about 40 percent.
Then there are mind-body therapies, such as guided imagery, mindfulness meditation, and yoga. Cancer patients commonly use these techniques to reduce stress. But some reports have shown prolonged survival in patients who participated in these interventions. In one study, women with melanoma who practiced these mind-body therapies experienced a 2.5-fold reduction in recurrence risk, and a 7-fold reduction in the risk of death.
And of course, nutrition plays a major role when it comes to cancer. In fact, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research reported that 30 to 40 percent of all cancers could be prevented with proper nutrition, along with regular physical activity. For more on the role nutrition plays in cancer survival, check out my article, “Deadly diet advice could be killing countless cancer victims,” which appeared in the July 2014 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter. Subscribers can access this issue—and the complete archive—by visiting www.drpescatore.com and logging in to the Subscriber area of the website. (And if you’re not already a subscriber, the website also has all the information you need to become one starting today.)
I could go on and on here, but the point is, when it comes to cancer, you need every weapon there is in your arsenal. Arm yourself with information on ALL your options—not just the ones mainstream medicine has to offer. And don’t listen to anyone who tells you there’s no evidence alternative therapies make a difference. This new review proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they do. In fact, I’ve seen first-hand how an integrative approach can make ALL the difference.
“Effects of Complementary and Integrative Medicine on Cancer Survivorship.” Current Oncology Reports 2015; 17(5):445