The pros and cons of cancer and alternative medicine are that alternative medicine can help manage symptoms associated with cancer and chemotherapy drugs, but this is not scientifically proven, so the effectiveness of these therapies is largely unverified. Alternative medicine differs from complementary medicine because therapy claims to replace conventional treatment rather than complement it.
Research studies have shown that alternative treatments for cancer alone are ineffective and can even increase mortality. In some cases, symptoms associated with cancer treatment, such as pain, fatigue, vomiting, and insomnia, can be treated. Patients should discuss this treatment with a qualified oncologist before starting treatment.
Cancer and alternative medicine studies have shown that no alternative treatment can actively cure or fight cancer. Studies conducted on the effects of treatment with vitamins and minerals, plant supplements and antioxidants have shown that none of them has been verified to fight cancer cells and cancer. Plant-based supplements, such as those used in Chinese medicine, may have some positive effects, but they can also interfere with conventional treatment. For this reason, all patients considering alternative cancer treatments should discuss these options with their doctor. In addition, antioxidants and beta-carotene supplements may actually increase cancer risk and mortality.
Research into the use of alternative medicine to treat cancer-related symptoms has produced more positive results. Studies have confirmed that plant and vitamin supplements help patients manage symptoms associated with cancer treatment and the disease itself. Massage, meditation, yoga, and hypnosis can also combat drug side effects and cancer symptoms. This research supports the use of alternative cancer treatments, but only as a complement to scientific medicine.