Mouth Cancer Treatment Alternative

A diagnosis of mouth cancer can be frightening. The important thing is to be an involved patient in order to help to get the best possible care. Your first step should be to get a second opinion. If you are uncomfortable with this, remember that doctors are not offended by it, and often welcome input from their colleagues. Most insurance plans will cover a second opinion.

Before you begin any therapy or treatment, be sure that you have a second set of tests run, at a different lab if possible. Diagnostic mistakes, while not common, do happen.

If your diagnosis is confirmed, do your research. Learn as much as you can about mouth cancer and available treatments. If you smoke or drink alcohol, stop now, as it is never too late to do what you can to improve your treatment outcome when dealing with mouth cancer.

Conventional Medicine

Your doctor will discuss your mouth cancer with you, including what stage your cancer is, and what he thinks will be the best treatment. Conventional mouth cancer treatments may include the following:

  • chemotherapy, which is drug treatment taken orally or intravenously
  • radiation, which is a focused beam X-ray directed at the cancer site
  • surgery, in which cancerous tissue is removed by a surgeon.

Your doctor may wish to use a combination of these therapies to help you get the best outcome.

Your part in the process of treating mouth cancer is to make healthy lifestyle choices while you are receiving treatment. Eat nutritious meals. If you don’t feel well enough to eat, tell your doctor. Many medications can relieve nausea and improve your appetite. Get regular, low-impact exercise. If you can get some mild exercise, you will improve your appetite, keep your muscles stronger and improve your sleep quality.

Treatment Alternatives

Sometimes conventional medicine is not successful in treating certain cancers. If your cancer is resistant to drugs or radiation, you may want to explore other alternatives.

Keep your doctor informed if you want to try alternatives to conventional cancer treatments. For example, if you want to take nutritional supplements, either to strengthen your immune system, or to specifically fight the cancerous cells, there may be side effects that interfere with conventional treatments. Doctors will know about any dangerous treatment interactions, so discuss all treatment with him or her.

Some researchers are now focusing on the treatment of cancer using high amounts of vitamins or herbs. While these treatments are still in the experimental stage, they are finding some success using high amounts of vitamin A. Milk thistle is an herb that has shown some promise in detoxifying and healing the liver. Some nutritional therapies have been around a long time and have become mainstream.

Beware of Some Alternatives

As long as there are difficult diseases to treat, there will be unconventional and sometimes even bizarre treatments available. Therefore, it is important for the patient to be careful. Not every promise of miraculous cure is fulfilled.

If you begin to research alternative therapies or cures, also look for valid research that backs up the claims. Try to determine how many people were involved in the research study, how many stayed with the protocol and for how long. And finally, find out the survival rate of those who participated.

Many studies are published online and are not difficult to read. If you have questions about study results, ask your doctor. He or she will discuss the research with you.

Some Alternative Therapies

With those warnings in mind, here are a few examples of some alternative mouth cancer treatments that may show promise:

  • Animal Cartilage: This type of product is extracted from the cartilage of a shark, or the trachea of a cow. It can be taken orally or intravenously, depending on the product. Researchers have found some success in reducing tumors because of polysaccharide components of the cartilage. While studies are ongoing, a similar product is currently being marketed as PSK, a nutritional supplement.
  • Antineoplastin A: Antineoplastin A is an element derived from urine. It can be administered orally, intravenously or topically. Clinical studies show that it caused some tumors to shrink and caused some patients to experience complete reversals of their tumors. Studies are ongoing.
  • Chemoprevention: Using high doses of nutritional supplements, like vitamin A and vitamin E, researchers have reported some success in reducing or preventing some cancers.
  • Fever Therapy: This therapy was developed in the 1900s. A patient who was infected with a bacterium and developed a high fever had his cancer cured. Several attempts have been made to replicate this result. The therapy, referred to as Coley’s toxins, currently involves infecting an incurable cancer patient with a combination of strep and other bacteria. The resulting fever appears to kill the cancer cells.

The most important thing you can do if you are diagnosed with mouth cancer, or any cancer, is to take some time to research your options, and there are many. The amount of research available can be overwhelming.

Also, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to tell you about clinical trials in your area.

Remember that alternative treatments, including nutritional supplements, can be used in conjunction with conventional treatments. You don’t need to feel like you’ve lost control of your life if you must undergo treatment for mouth cancer.

Resources

Aesoph, Lauri M. N.C. (2007). Antioxidants, Diet and Cancer. Retrieved on August 14, 2007, from the Health World Web site: http://www.healthy.net/scr/Article.asp?Id=269xcntr=1

Dunn, Steve (2004). Cancer Guide. Retrieved on August 14, 2007, from the Cancer Guide Web site: http://cancerguide.org/about_home.html.