January 18, 2017

Choosing Cancer Treatment: Natural or Conventional?

by Amanda Box, N.D.

There are three words that no one ever wants to hear in their lifetime: “You Have Cancer…”

It is, in fact, a death sentence for millions across the globe each year. This unapologetic disease invades a person’s body, often times with no manifestations or symptoms.  It can silently spread far beyond the ability of medical intervention to come to the rescue. Thousand are left with no hope, no options, and no future other than an impending death.  No wonder those three words are so frightening to hear!

Though the medical field has advanced and made headway in cancer treatments, it typically uses the same mode of action.  It becomes a “War on Cancer” as most treatments are aimed at seeking out and destroying cancer cells. This is a war well fought and it deserves credit for the many lives that it has saved.

However, the flip side is that these treatments often cause many casualties, as well.  Many cancer treatments carry the warning that they may cause other forms cancer and can only delay death instead facilitating healingCancer causing cancer treatment? Sounds a bit like a tongue twisting oxymoron; yet, it’s true.

Chemotherapy drugs and radiation can mutate healthy cells into cancer cells. And because these treatments also suppress the immune system, these cancer cells have a better chance of multiplying and, therefore, establishing another area of cancer in the body.

Choosing a Cancer Treatment

Even with all the advances in medicine, it is strange to note that most chemotherapy drugs used today are the same toxic blend of chemicals that have been used since the 1970s.  Yes, chemo kills cancer cells and this is why it is a chosen mode of treatment.  The same is true of radiation. Radiation and chemo battle against cancer cells, but many healthy cells are also destroyed in the process.

Is this really the best route?  Wouldn’t naturally supporting the body’s own immune system to fight cancer without destroying otherwise perfectly healthy cells be a better idea?  Most oncologists will disagree with me, and I’m certainly not here to convince people to go against their doctor’s recommendations or argue statistics. There are parents who have gotten their children taken away from them because they didn’t follow their doctor’s recommendation for cancer treatment and sought alternatives instead. I personally find this ludicrous! It only solidifies my belief that the pharmaceutical industry has its hands in the government’s pockets!  Either way, cancer treatment remains extremely controversial and often times very dangerous territory.

natural supplements to boost immunity during cancer treatmentMy belief is that information is power and we should be given the opportunity to choose our mode of treatment, if mainstream cancer treatment, alternative, or both.  I am not here to judge one’s choice and I have often asked myself what I would do if one of my children or I were diagnosed with cancer. It is a decision that should never be taken lightly. Although I am not 100% sure what my decision would be if given the dire circumstances of cancer, I know I would never turn my back on the wonderful natural remedies and treatments I have come to know throughout the years. The wonderful thing about natural remedies is that even if one chooses a more mainstream approach such as chemotherapy or radiation, many natural approaches can also be adhered to alongside or following these treatments to provide the body with support and proper nourishment.

Boosting Immunity During Cancer Treatment

Many who are diagnosed with cancer are unaware of natural treatments that can either complement their existing regime or help to lessen the many side-effects of most conventional cancer treatments. However, it is also important to note that many natural supplements cannot be combined with conventional treatment because they can work against each other. For example, cleansing and detoxing can be dangerous and even possibly life threatening during chemotherapy treatment.  However, detoxing after chemotherapy is complete can be helpful in eliminating the excess damaging toxins that chemo can leave in the body.

Using natural methods to boost the immune system during conventional cancer treatments can also be extremely beneficial. Although treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can shrink tumors and kill cancer cells, they don’t facilitate the healing that needs to occur in your body even after the cancer is killed. This is why natural supplements can be so helpful; they facilitate the body’s own healing and restoration process!

If you or someone you know is undergoing cancer treatment, please take note.  Secondary infections during cancer treatments are very common and can be life threatening. Keeping the immune system as strong as possible during cancer treatments can help prevent secondary infections, prevent cancer recurrence, and encourage your body to heal from the damage of both the cancer and the side-effects of treatments.  

We all have cancer cells in our bodies, yet we most of us don’t get full-blown cancer because our immune system destroys these cells before they get a chance to multiple and grow.  This is why keeping our immune system strong and healthy is so vitally important, especially when undergoing treatments like radiation and chemotherapy that are known for creating cancer cells as a side-effect.

There are a lot of natural supplements that boost the immune system.  However, not all of them combine well with conventional cancer treatment.  Below are some of the best and also safest supplements to take while undergoing cancer treatments to boost the immune system and promote overall health.[am4show guest_error=’noaccess’]

Vitamin D

Adequate vitamin D in the blood is crucial for strong, healthy immune system.  Without enough vitamin D, our killer cells cannot do their job!  Unfortunately, most people are vitamin D deficient because we have been taught to shun the sun, even though it gives away an endless supply of vitamin D. However, 20 minutes a day of sun exposure is healthy and is a fantastic way to build your vitamin D levels!  Supplementation is extremely helpful, as well. I recommend 35 IU per lb of body weight. Monitor your levels via blood work and shoot for levels between 70-100 ng/ml for cancer treatment.  There are mounds of studies that support the evidence that vitamin D can prevent and help fight cancer.

Vitamin C

vitamin c and chemotherapy together_3Intravenous vitamin C is a method of interest in mainstream cancer treatment.  This is because studies performed by the University of Kansas showed that intravenous vitamin C combined with chemotherapy did three important things:

  • Increased the effectiveness of killing cancer cells by chemotherapy.
  • Protected healthy cells from damage from chemotherapy drugs.
  • Lowered the side-effects and toxicity of chemotherapy drugs.

This is fantastic news for those looking for a way not to only prevent the side-effects from their mainstream cancer treatment, but to enhance its effectiveness!  I recommend inquiring with your doctor about administering vitamin C alongside your chemotherapy.

Intravenous vitamin C shows much greater results than supplementation in pill form.  However, if you do take a pill form I recommend taking the fat soluble form of vitamin C called Ascorbyl Palmitate.  Because it is fat soluble rather than water-soluble, it stays in the body much longer.

Mushrooms

Many different mushrooms have some pretty incredible anticancer and immune boosting properties.  Eastern medicine has used these mushrooms for thousands of years for treatment of cancer and many other ailments. Maitake, Shiitake, Reishi, and Turkey Tail are the most commonly used mushrooms for cancer and immunity.

Though you can eat these mushrooms, they can be difficult to find.  I recommend using them in supplement form as they concentrate the medicinal aspects of these mushrooms into a pill making them more effective. RM-10 from Garden of Life and Host Defense’s Comprehensive Immune Support are both fantastic mushroom blends for cancer treatment and prevention.

Curcumin

Curcumin is the main active component of the spice turmeric.  It is a powerful antioxidant and has shown positive results in lab experiments in its ability to both kill cancer cells and prevent them from growing.

Antioxidants are a bit controversial when it pertains to them being taken alongside treatments like chemotherapy. Some experts believe that antioxidants can lower chemo’s effectiveness, while others have seen their amazing ability to lower levels of pain and fatigue. I personally believe the benefits of antioxidants far out way the unproven possible negative results.  

In my opinion, the strongest and most effective curcumin on the market is Europharma’s Curamed. One pill of Curamed is the equivalent to ten pills of typical curcumin.  I personally take it daily for immune system support, cancer prevention, and also for its amazing ability to quell inflammation in the body.

Supplements for Side-Effects

natural supplements for cancer treatment side-effectsUnfortunately, most conventional cancer treatments are packed with side-effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • And the list goes on

Finding natural ways to help combat these often incapacitating side-effects can greatly improve the quality of life of one going through these treatments.

Ginger

Ginger is a fantastic herb for nausea that is very safe and effective.  It can be taken alone, or alongside prescribed anti-nausea medications. A recent study showed that cancer treatment patients who drank a high protein drink with ginger twice a day were less nauseous and required less anti-nausea medication. I recommend pill form as it is the easiest form to taken and generally the most effective.

L-Glutamine

I remember the first time someone told me that the Mayo Clinic had recommended they take L-Glutamine during their chemo. I had never heard of this recommendation before, but I was thrilled that a natural supplement was being suggested to help those undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

I later found out that cancer lowers levels of glutamine in the body as does chemotherapy treatments.  Supplementing with glutamine during cancer and chemotherapy has protective properties against damage to the stomach lining, the heart, and our brain. Often times, chemotherapy’s toxic chemicals can damage those parts of the body and l-glutamine provides protection from those toxic effects!

No matter what path you choose in treating your cancer, whether conventional or alternative, you can always incorporate nature’s best remedies into your plan of action.  Whether it’s reducing nausea, protecting your body against chemotherapy’s toxic effects, or boosting your immune system, there are effective and safe natural treatments and solutions at your disposal.  

Take advantage of what nature has to offer! Cancer is not something to be taken lightly and using every cancer treatment means necessary, both natural and conventional, is commendable in your journey to health and restoration!

 

 

Amanda BoxAmanda Box is a Traditional  Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area.  Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.

 

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