Stomach Cancer Treatment Alternative

Although no alternative stomach cancer treatments are proven effective, complementary treatments can often help relieve the side effects of conventional cancer treatments and help you feel better through your treatment.

Understanding CAM

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) consists of treatments not generally used by conventional western medicine. Some sources further differentiate complementary medicine as treatments used in addition to conventional treatments, and alternative medicine as treatments used instead of conventional treatments. However, the terms alternative and complementary are often used interchangeably.

Complementary Therapies

Naturopathy is a form of complementary medicine. Cancer symptoms and the side effects of cancer treatments can sometimes be relieved with natural therapies, such as herbs, recommended by a qualified naturopath. A naturopath may also recommend vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbs to help your body heal. Be sure to tell your oncologist if you’re taking any herbal supplements, as these may interact adversely with your treatment plan.

Doctors of Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine also use herbs and other therapies to help “balance” the body. Other therapies that may help support you in coping with pain and the side effects of stomach cancer treatments include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Aromatherapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Counseling or psychotherapy
  • Exercise
  • Hypnosis
  • Massage therapy
  • Meditation
  • Music therapy
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga.

Research on all of these therapies for helping with cancer is sparse, and most of the scientific evidence is limited. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) does report that studies suggest acupuncture may help manage chemotherapy-associated vomiting and may help control pain. Other studies suggest that hypnosis, massage, meditation and yoga may help manage cancer symptoms and treatment side effects. Plus, a 2008 review of the research literature on botanicals concluded that several botanicals show promise for managing the side effects of cancer treatment.

Some of these therapies, such as music therapy and relaxation techniques, are generally safe for everyone, while other techniques may be inappropriate, depending on your medical and physical condition. Talk to your doctor, and always tell other healthcare providers or therapists about any natural, complementary and/or supportive therapies you’re engaged in.

Alternative Stomach Cancer Treatments: A Warning

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns against looking online for alternative treatments. “Cancer cure” claims that are likely bogus include statements like:

  • “Avoid painful surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy” (or other conventional treatments)
  • “Miraculous cure,” “secret ingredient” or “ancient remedy”
  • “Non-toxic” or “doesn’t make you sick”
  • “Shrinks malignant tumors” or “treats all forms of cancer.”

Always let your doctor know if you’re using alternative stomach cancer treatments to[k1] avoid any potentially adverse interactions between those treatments and other treatments you’re receiving.

Resources

Cancer Treatment Centers of America. (n.d.). Stomach cancer naturopathic medicine. Retrieved February 18, 2011, from http://www.cancercenter.com/stomach-cancer/naturopathic-medicine.cfm

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Alternative cancer treatments: 11 alternative treatments to consider. Retrieved February 18, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-treatment/CM00002

National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine. (2010). Cancer and CAM: At a glance. Retrieved February 18, 2011, from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/cancer/camcancer.htm

National Cancer Institute. (2011). Questions and answers about complementary and alternative medicine in cancer treatment. Retrieved February 18, 2011, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cam-cancer-treatment/patient/page2

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2008). Beware of online cancer fraud. Retrieved February 18, 2011, from http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048383.htm