Alternative Treatments
for Cancer Patients:
11 Options from Mayo

Help is just ahead!

The alternative cancer treatments listed below won't cure this disease, but they may alleviate some of its undesirable side-effects.

Some complementary and alternative treatments are unproven and dangerous. To deal with this reality, the medical staff at Mayo Clinic have been researching a wide variety of these treatments.

Acupuncture needles are shown here to facilitate blood flow and nerve function.Yoga helps with the fatigue, sleep problems and stress of cancer.Massage therapy is sometimes given in-hospital by a trained nurse.

The 11 alternative treatment options in the chart below made the cut. Mayo Clinic experts consider them as generally safe, and often effective.

How alternative treatments help:

No, not by promising a cure, but helping one cope with symptoms caused by this disease and its conventional treatments--such as:

  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • nausea and vomiting
  • difficulty sleeping
  • pain, and
  • stress

A Powerful Addition

When you use these alternative treatments as a supplement to treatments you receive from your doctor (not as a substitute), you truly put the 'complementary' into 'complementary medicine.' For example, acupuncture may reduce your nausea or pain, but they generally aren't powerful enough to replace medications from your doctor. So you use both together!

As usual, work closely with your doctor to determine the right balance between traditional medicines and alternative cancer treatments.

Quick-reference chart:

Health issue Treatment option to consider
Anxiety Hypnosis,massage, meditation, relaxation techniques
FatigueExercise, massage, relaxation techniques, yoga
Nausea and vomitingAcupuncture, aromatherapy, hypnosis, music therapy
PainAcupuncture, aromatherapy, biofeedback, hypnosis, meditation, massage, music therapy
Sleep problemsExercise, relaxation techniques, tai chi, yoga
Stress Aromatherapy, exercise, hypnosis, massage, meditation, tai chi, yoga

Curious to learn more about a specific alternative treatment? Follow any of the above links by clicking on highlighted words.

As modern medicine becomes more familiar with this disease, patients increasingly consider complementary treatments for their symptoms and side effects. You may also find some alternative treatments work well together. For instance, deep breathing during a massage may provide further stress relief.

Wishing you success in your quest for health answers~

The Health Hound

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