WHAT IS CONVENTIONAL, COMPLEMENTARY, ALTERNATIVE AND INTEGRATIVE CANCER TREATMENTPosted on March 03, 2015 by Web Developer.
“Conventional treatments” are the standard medical treatments doctors (allopathic) use to treat illnesses. For cancer treatment, examples of these are surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and hormonal and biological therapies.
"Complementary treatment/ medicine" refers to treatments used with standard or the conventional treatment. They may not be used to cure cancer per se, but used alongside to boost physical and emotional health thus better equipped the body in its fight against cancer.
"Alternative medicine" on the other hand refers to treatments that are used instead of standard treatment. Example of this is the use of special diet to treat cancer. Choosing alternative treatment would mean forgoing chemotherapy and radiation and radiation.
Integrative treatment” refers to the use of conventional, complementary and alternative practices. When properly combined with standard cancer treatments, some complementary therapies can enhance wellness and quality of life for it looks at how a disease affects the whole person: body, mind, and spirit and integrate most promising treatments for the patient.
When faced with the diagnosis of cancer there are choices that you will need to make especially regarding your treatment options.
Is conventional, complementary, alternative or integrative the best option(s)? The debates on these are rife. Naturally it is hard for a patient to know where to start. There is a lot of information available, with new methods for treating cancer evolving and continuously being tested to improve effectiveness.
In general, many patients diagnosed with cancer follow a familiar path of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy because that’s what is recommended to them. Few pursue integrative or CAM remedies which is outside mainstream medicine. Still some opted for minimal treatment for the incurable cancer (especially terminally cases), as they looked into living quality live for their remaining time on earth.
It is important then that you find out what the facts are, and make your own informed choice.
Making informed choices means:
understanding the differences between conventional, complementary, integrative and alternative therapies
finding out as much as you can about the various therapies, including the possible benefits and risks
talking to your healthcare team about the various therapy you are receiving
Seek second, third etc opinion until you are satisfied.
Always work with an expert in the respective fields.
Why should cancer patients seek Integrated Cancer Treatment ?
Conventional cancer treatment is efficacious for early stage cancer. Unfortunately, for advanced stage cancer little progress has been made in the past 20years.
A study was published in the British journal, “Clinical Oncology,” in December, 2004, entitled, “The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-Year Survival in Adult Malignancies.” The authors, one medical oncologist and two radiation oncologists, analyzed the results of all randomized clinical trials performed in the U.S. and Australia, that reported a statistically significant increase in 5-year survival due to the use of chemotherapy in adult malignancies. The trials that were analyzed were performed between 1990 and 2004. The authors’ conclusions were the following:
Contribution to 5-year survival in Australia was 2.3%
Contribution to 5-year survival in US was 2.1%
Median survival in lung cancer has increased by 2 months in the past 20 years
The most important message is to consult your doctor before trying anything new and explore the various possible options for your care. We believe that people with cancer must make treatment decisions with the best available information, including knowledge of what the treatment can do and what the side effects may be.
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