New research published in JAMA Oncology, 2019 suggests one-third of people with a cancer diagnosis use complementary and alternative medicines such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and supplements.
According to lead researcher Dr. Nina Sanford, an assistant professor of Radiation Oncology who specializes in and treats cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, herbal supplements were the most common alternative medicine and chiropractic, or osteopathic manipulation, was the second most common.
Dr. Sanford's analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey also showed 29 percent of people who use complementary and alternative medicine did not tell their physicians. The survey said it was because the doctors did not ask, or the doctors didn’t need to know. Most of our patients say it’s because the oncologist tells them not to take them because they don’t know anything about them, and they could cause a problem with their treatments. The patients also are often told by their doctor they are a waste of money and don’t work.
Dr. Sanford said, "You don't know what's in them. Some of these supplements are kind of a mishmash of different things.”
Dr. David Gerber, a lung cancer specialist and a Professor of Internal Medicine and Population and Data Sciences at UTSW stated, "They may interact with the medicines we're giving them, and through that interaction it could alter the level of the medicine in the patient," he said. "If the levels get too high, then toxicities increase, and if the levels get too low, the efficacy would drop."
I agree cancer patients should not be taking supplements during conventional treatments without expert advice from an experienced Holistic Practitioner. For instance, the Essiac Herbal combination formula that has been shown to help the immune system of people with cancer, should not be utilized when receiving chemotherapy. It has natural detoxification properties and will flush out the chemotherapy agent decreasing or negating the chemo’s effect on cancer.
The quality of many supplements that people choose to take can be questionable as well. Whenever using supplementation for health concerns, particularly cancer, reputable Nutritional Companies and high quality products are of the utmost importance. You never want to waste time and money on supplements that are useless or worse harmful.
More studies on the effectiveness, dosage and safety of natural cancer therapies are definitely needed.
For years numerous research papers have been available for oncologists to review on various natural remedies that have been shown to be successfully combined safely with conventional cancer treatments. I wonder if many American doctors do not read these latest studies as they have no interest or because they are often from other countries.
Curcumin has long been studied for its beneficial action on many different types of cancer.
According to a study published in the January 27, 2017 issue of Journal of Experimental Pharmacology, “Curcumin, a naturally occurring polyphenol compound found in the plant Curcuma longa, is used as an Indian spice. It regulates not only the various pathways of the immune system, cell cycle checkpoints, apoptosis, and antioxidant response but also numerous intracellular targets, including pathways and protein molecules controlling tumor progression. Many recent studies conducted by major research groups around the globe suggest the use of curcumin as a chemopreventive adjuvant molecule to maximize and minimize the desired effects and side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs.”
Curcumin re-sensitizes multidrug resistant (MDR) breast cancer to cisplatin through inducing autophagy by decreasing CCAT1 expression
The study states, “Platinum compounds are the key components of chemotherapy for the treatment of breast cancer patients. Tumors are resistant to cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity, and therefore represent a significant obstacle to successful treatment outcome. Chemo-resistance has been a major obstacle in the clinical treatment of breast cancer. In this study curcumin reduced cisplatin resistance and induced cell autophagy in breast cancer cells.” Research study published July 3, 2017 RCS Advances journal.
The Epigenetic Impact of Cruciferous Vegetables on Cancer Prevention
“Many studies have contributed to the incorporation of dietary agents as forms of cancer remediation. Cruciferous vegetables are enriched with several chemical components that have tremendous negative effects on multiple pathways of cancer cells due to their anti-proliferative and anti-tumorigenic properties. The consumption of these vegetables is beneficial in the sense that they are precursors to glucosinolates which give rise to isothiocyanates such as sulforaphane (SFN) and indoles such as indole-3-carbinol (IC3). Most cancers are characterized by the overexpression of HDAC and DNMT and the mis-expression of miRNAs. Both I3C and SFN are inhibitors and regulators of these processes and the incorporation of these compounds causes cancerous cell lines to take on a healthier, and more normalized appearance. In addition, significant decreases in uncontrolled cell growth as well as increases in programed cell death are noticed with the incorporation of SFN and I3C.” A study published in the February 1, 2015 journal Current Pharmacology Reports.
Doctors need to understand utilizing Holistic Medicine for cancer patients is not just about taking supplements safely. Holistic Medicine is about balance and treating the person as a whole being. Holistic Practitioners also strive to improve their patient’s overall immune system function with dietary support, emotional support and guidance for other natural healing modalities.
Cancer is a serious life-threatening disease that needs to be taken seriously. Natural remedies should never be taken willy-nilly. It is not safe.
With the appropriate knowledge and experience, utilizing Holistic Medicine can result in more effective conventional therapies with less side effects and overall success. The healthier a person can become in body, mind and spirit, the less likely they will succumb to illness and the more positive they will respond to treatments.
Jane Jansen Holistic Practitioner Tree of Life Wellness Center 508-336-4242
Host of Holistic Healthline Radio
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