Stomach Cancer Treatment Supportive Therapy

Stomach cancer treatment can be an arduous process, leading to psychological, social and spiritual difficulties for many cancer patients. Many people benefit from supportive therapy to get through their treatment for cancer. Supportive therapies are those that make the patient’s life easier and more comfortable as they receive traditional treatment for their disease.

Nutrition Therapy

Eating a healthy diet can help in the healing process. This involves eating and drinking enough foods and liquids that provide important nutrients the body needs. Stomach cancer patients who have had part or all of their stomach removed will likely have to change the way they eat, and will need to work with a nutritional counselor.

Pain Management

Drugs are often an important part of managing pain during stomach cancer treatment. However, some non-traditional supportive therapies may help relieve pain or other physical effects of cancer and its treatment. These include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic care
  • Exercise
  • Massage therapy
  • Physical or occupational therapy
  • Relaxation techniques, including guided visualization and hypnosis.

Spiritual and Psychological Support

Treatment for cancer can take an emotional and psychological toll. Anxiety and depression are particularly common among cancer patients.

Seeking supportive therapy with a counselor or psychotherapist can help patients through the turmoil. Individual psychotherapy, group therapy and family therapy are all options. Some people prefer the spiritual support provided by clergy.

Another option is self-help support groups, in which cancer patients can share their experiences and support each other emotionally. Also, learning relaxation techniques such as guided imagery or biofeedback can often help relieve anxiety and stress.

Naturopathic Medicine

Therapies provided by naturopaths–such as homeopathic medicines, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and herbs–can often help alleviate the side effects of cancer treatment when tailored to fit a patient’s needs. Coordinating care between healthcare providers is important, because some treatments, particularly herbs, can interact with drugs.

Life’s Practicalities

Dealing with cancer can lead to financial and legal worries, insurance questions, concerns about employment, and concerns about advance directives (legal documents that let patients state their decisions about end-of-life care, such as being hooked up to life support). Getting financial, insurance and legal counseling can help a person deal with these concerns.

Meeting Individual Needs

Each person experiences stomach cancer differently, so finding the best supportive therapies is an individual process. Working with your healthcare providers and getting the support you need can enhance both the healing process and your quality of life.

Resources

Cancer Treatment Centers of America. (n.d.). Stomach cancer treatments. Retrieved February 17, 2011, from http://www.cancercenter.com/stomach-cancer/stomach-cancer-treatment.cfm

Mayo Clinic. (2009). Stomach cancer. Retrieved February 17, 2011, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stomach-cancer/DS00301

National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Coping with cancer: Supportive and palliative care. Retrieved February 17, 2011, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/coping