Integrative medicine for cancer is a combination of treatments and complementary therapies used to cope with the side effects and symptoms of the disease. Sometimes, we hear integrative medicine called complementary and alternative medicine, although the truth is there’s no ‘alternatives’ to treating cancer. The alternative ways are only used and even prescribed by some Singapore oncologists, because they help ease side effects and painful symptoms caused by cancer.
Complementary therapy includes treatments that haven’t been widely used in the world of medicine. This extends from dietary changes, to massages, to yoga.
Singapore oncology consultants stress that complementary therapy or integrative medicine is not the same as ‘alternative’ medicine. Complementary medicine is a ‘complement’—not a replacement—for traditional cancer treatments like cancer screening, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and hormone therapy. It is an important distinction as the conventional therapies are the scientifically proven and tested ways to fight cancer.
Patients diagnosed with cancer when they go to a cancer screening centre in singapore in Singapore often seek out complementary medicine for several reasons. Patients suffering from pain, anxiety, depression, nausea, and fatigue benefit from this the most. Although some people feel a bit suspicious of the unusual approach, most are convinced after trying the therapy. What’s great about complementary therapy is that it eases symptoms and gives patients the feeling of having control of their body again.
Alternative medicine or therapies are those practices that some people promote for use to ‘replace’ standard medical cancer treatment. Avoiding or taking specific foods or herbal medicines instead of undergoing chemotherapy is one example of alternative medicine. Generally, alternative medicines are disproved, unstudied, or can even be bogus methods that no cancer doctor will recommend simply because it does nothing at all to treat cancer.
Using alternative medicines can cause some serious risks to the patient. It can make your case worse and keep you from starting a traditional cancer therapy that your Singapore oncologist has prepared for you. Since alternative medicines are unstudied and disproved, it’s not impossible to make the symptoms and side effects much worse. And because it delays you from starting a conventional cancer treatment, the tumour may keep growing until standard treatment options are no longer effective on you.
Evaluating Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Many people with positive results in their cancer screening will desperately grab every possibility of a cure that they find. However, before you start doing complementary therapies, discuss your plans and treatment options with an oncologist Singapore. It is important to know whether your choice of complementary therapy works well with the cancer treatment your cancer doctor has planned for you.
Some complementary therapies have undergone extensive researches supporting their effectiveness and safety when used with traditional cancer treatments. On the other hand, alternative therapies do not show evidence that they work and are often costly and could be harmful. Although most of these alternatives are natural, it doesn’t equate to being safe. It is possible for a person to react badly to natural products, particularly if the patient takes large doses.
For younger patients, before giving them herbal and dietary supplements, talk with their paediatric oncologist first. Remember that a child’s body digests drugs and nutrients differently and needs smaller dosage than adults.
Dietary and Herbal Products for Treating Cancer
Conventional medicines are scientifically tested and approved by the FDA for its safety and efficiency. However, some dietary and herbal products do not undergo meticulous testing or require the same type of FDA approval before they’re sold to the public.
Patients can consider using these products as complementary therapy, which is combined with standard medical treatment. For example, drinking ginger tea to help reduce nausea during chemotherapy is a complementary therapy. There are products that are safe to take when patients use them with their Singapore oncologist’s guidance.
However, taking ginger tea alone—without chemotherapy—to cure cancer is an alternative therapy. Despite claims, there’s no herbal products that treats or cures cancer. In fact, many herbal products interfere with the efficacy of cancer treatments.
Evaluating Product Safety
It isn’t easy to tell whether a dietary or herbal product is safe and effective. Information about such products relies so much on people’s stories and testimonies, instead of scientific studies. People believe that natural products are safe because they are free from preservatives and other chemicals often found in food and drugs. However, product safety varies on the ingredients, preparation, dose, and individual reaction.
People undergoing cancer treatments should be very cautious when taking herbal products as some interfere with surgery and some therapies. For instance, the herb kava, which is commonly used to manage anxiety, can interfere with the potency of anesthesia. Other herbs can cause blood clotting, and many hampers the efficacy of chemotherapy. When considering complementary medicines keep these safety issues in mind.
• Some herbal products and dietary supplements, even when taken in recommended dosage, can cause side effects like diarrhea, headaches, fainting, seizure, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. If you experience any of these side effects, contact your doctor immediately.
• Ingredients in some of these products can interfere with prescription medicines you may be taking, apart from the possibility of interfering with some cancer treatments.
• Some dietary supplements can be unsafe if you have certain health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and mental conditions.
Deciding whether to incorporate integrative medicine to your cancer treatment is not that simple. The moment your cancer screening shows positive results, every treatment decision is critical for your well-being. Talk to the best oncologist in Singapore and discuss with your cancer doctor the possibility of using complementary medicines as a part of your treatment plan.