Holistic Medicine (also known as Complementary and Alternative) treats the whole person: mind, body, and spirit.
According to the National Cancer Institute: “Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard medical care. People with cancer may use CAM to:
- Help cope with the side effects of cancer treatments, such as nausea, pain, and fatigue
- Comfort themselves and ease the worries of cancer treatment and related stress
- Feel that they are doing something to help with their own care
- Try to treat or cure their cancer
Integrative medicine is an approach to medical care that combines standard medicine with CAM practices that have shown through science to be safe and effective. This approach often stresses the patient's preferences, and it attempts to address the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of health.
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. Her 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.
In 40 years of practice, we have found taking supplements during conventional treatments with expert advice from an experienced Holistic Practitioner can be highly successful in combination with convention medical treatments for cancer when used appropriately. Too many cancer patients can utilize natural remedies they see on the internet or recommended by a friend who has no understanding how they work, the safe dosage, or how they interact with chemotherapy, radiation, gene immunotherapy, surgery, or medications.
For instance, many cancer patients put themselves on the Essiac Herbal combination formula that has been shown to help the immune system of people with cancer. It has many benefits for cancer. However, it should never 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.
Natural remedies should not be used without expert advice from a health professional! We encourage informing your medical doctors of any supplements or natural treatment you are taking.
For many years numerous research studies are showing the many benefits of natural remedies for cancer.
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 chemo preventive 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.
Artemisinin: In a healthy body, iron plays a vital role in the growth and maintenance of cells. However, Cancer cells demand more iron to proliferate in the body and have many receptors of transferrin, a protein that helps transport iron, on the cell surface. Studies have shown that artemisinin, a chemical compound present in the medicinal herb sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua), reacts with iron, present in the hemoglobin in red blood cells, to form free radicals. When formed inside the cells, the carbon-based free radicals promote cancer cell death by reacting with the proteins and lipids present in the cell.
A study, published in the March 2019 journal BMC Cancer, the researchers have detailed the molecular mechanism behind how artemisinin prevents invasion and migration of breast cancer to other parts of the body.
The study also showed that treating cells with artemisinin alters the expression of genes involved in development, proliferation, and migration of breast cancer cells. In a healthy body, ‘tumor suppressor genes’ in our cells slow down the rate of spread of cells and protect us from cancer. Treating cells with artemisinin enhanced the expression of these genes.
Holistic Medicine is about balance and treating the person as a whole being and not just taking supplements. 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