In last week's post, we discussed some of the alternative treatments for skin cancer and explained the steps you should take before beginning any of these treatments, including talking with your doctor. Usually, alternative treatments, as the name suggests, replace traditional treatments.
Complementary treatments, on the other hand, are those that are used in conjunction with traditional treatments. These are meant to improve or enhance the effectiveness of any medication, radiation or other treatment you are receiving. Some complementary treatments are used to help you reduce or manage side effects of your traditional treatments. Some of these treatments have been found to be helpful, while others have not. Some may be harmful, so, as with alternative treatments, do your research and talk with your doctor before beginning any treatment.
Acupuncture, in some cases, may help ease the nausea and vomiting that can accompany chemotherapy. A qualified acupuncturist should complete an assessment and provide you with information on exactly what will be done. Acupuncture uses needles, heat or electrical stimulation at precise points on your body to help promote natural healing. Acupuncture needles should never be inserted into areas where cancer is present. It is an ancient Chinese medicine. Acupressure is similar to acupuncture but uses pressure on points on your body rather than needles.
Cancer, and treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy, can deplete you of nutrients, create digestion problems and often cause weight loss. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately one-third of cancer deaths can be attributed to malnourishment. Eating right during cancer treatments is extremely important. Your doctor or a nutritionist can help you create a diet plan that will replenish nutrients, help you maintain energy levels and replace weight you have lost.
Relaxation and Stress Management
Having cancer and undergoing cancer treatments is stressful. Some patients prefer to use individual stress management techniques, such as meditation, guided imagery or individual counseling to help manage their emotions at this time. Others prefer a group setting, joining cancer support groups to talk and vent about their experiences, frustrations and concerns. Your doctor or treatment center should know about the groups or specialized counselors in your area.
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Based on the location of your skin cancer, you may be concerned about your appearance after treatment. Talking with a plastic or reconstructive surgeon about your options can help you feel better about what options are available to you and how soon you will be able to have surgery once treatment is completed.
Naturopathic medicine seeks to treat the whole person rather than just the cancer. It takes into account your mental and spiritual healing; in other words it works toward healing your body, mind and spirit. It includes diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and other natural therapies to help you through the healing process. Part of naturopathic medicine is to help educate you and your family about changes you can make to help prevent any further recurrences of your cancer. Talk to your doctor or treatment center about naturopathic practitioners in your area.
For more information:
"Skin Cancer," reviewed 2012, Jan 5, Steven D. Ehrlich, University of Maryland Medical Center
"Skin Cancer Treatments-Image Enhancement," Date Unknown, Staff Writer, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
"Skin Cancer Treatments-Nutrition Therapy," Date Unknown, Staff Writer, Cancer Treatment Centers of America
"What is Naturopathic Medicine," Date Unknown, Staff Writer, American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Published On: March 14, 2012