Alternative breast cancer treatments
Alternative breast cancer treatment basically means anything that hasn’t been scientifically tested in the world of mainstream medicine. This is an area fraught with controversy and conflicting opinions so arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible before entering these somewhat murky waters!
Call it what you will – holistic treatment, alternative medicine, complementary therapy – but the fact is that alternative breast cancer treatments are not subjected to the same kind of clinical testing as conventional treatments so their effectiveness and outcomes are unclear.
There are old school doctors who’ll tell you that anything remotely “alternative” is nothing but quackery and should be avoided at all costs. Most hospitals in the western world now embrace various unconventional therapies to complement standard treatments. And at the other end of the spectrum there are practitioners and natural healing centres that shun conventional techniques on the grounds that they cause the patient more damage than the original cancer. Don’t look for easy answers on this one because they aren’t any.
It’s a fact that there are women who have rejected any kind of conventional treatment for their breast cancer – surgery, radiation and chemotherapy – and have enjoyed normal active lives for 30 or more years after their diagnosis. It’s also a fact that some sufferers who have relied solely on alternative therapies have died in agony after developing huge tumours and cancer in other parts of their bodies.
There are no rights and wrongs in all of this. You may face derision and criticism if you refuse conventional treatment in favour of one or more so-called alternative therapies. But it’s your life and health so make whatever decision feels right for you.
One of the main problems is that highly regarded and widely accepted practices tend to get lumped together under the same label as some highly dubious techniques. It’s unfortunate that an experienced and highly skilled practitioner of acupuncture, for example, can be dismissed as some dangerous alternative quack along with a dodgy guru who puts together “healing potions” from his patient’s urine.
It’s a sad fact there are some despicable types who will prey on a breast cancer patient’s fear and anxiety to flog over-priced products that have no therapeutic benefits whatsoever and have never been tested for safety and quality. Beware of those natural health web sites that scare you into buying their products by emphasising the horrors of surgery and toxic chemicals.
If you’re interested in alternative treatments you might be surprised to find your local hospital offers all kinds of unconventional therapies – from acupuncture and nutrition therapy to yoga, massage and meditation. In many hospitals in the UK these and other alternative treatments are now widely available on the NHS. They’re used alongside standard hospital procedures – but there are plenty of private centres which take an entirely holistic approach to breast cancer and reject the invasive and aggressive approach of conventional medicine.
The fundamental difference between conventional medicine and holistic healing is that the former takes a very localised view of the problem (i.e. treating the disease rather than the person as a whole) whilst the latter emphasises the importance of the mind, body and spirit working together to bring about healing.