Complementary and Alternative Treatments for Stage 4 Melanoma

Jacqueline Ho | Sep 10th 2014 Nov 20th 2016

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Complementary and alternative methods, also known as CAM, are types of therapies not scientifically proven but still commonly accepted as potential ways to help treat a certain condition. The following therapies include complementary methods—or treatments that can be used in combination with conventional medicine—for patients with advanced melanoma.

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Nutrition therapy

While nutrition does not cure cancer, maintaining good nutrition is important for the health of cancer patients, as it can help patients maintain a healthy body weight and fight infection. Beneficial foods for skin cancer patients include fish, vegetables, antioxidants, plant-based spices and flavonoids, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

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Herbal medicine

Due to their many antioxidants, herbs have been linked to many health benefits. Herbal medicine is made from such herbs and can be taken in tea or capsule form. Green tea in particular is high in antioxidants and it may help prevent skin tumors from forming, according to some research.

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Acupuncture is used more to help alleviate pain in cancer patients rather than as a treatment method. Acupuncture—a technique that involves inserting needles at key points in the body—may be beneficial for people with malignant melanoma, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, but the prognosis tends to be low.

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Massage and physical therapy

In stage 4 melanoma, the cancer has likely spread to the lymph nodes. In this case, experts say that patients can benefit from the strength training and the kind of stretching done in physical therapy.

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The combination of exercise, detoxification and relaxation involved in yoga may help create an ideal internal environment for fighting melanoma, according to some research. Practicing yoga may also help improve a patient’s emotional and mental state.

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