Complementary therapy for cancer: benefits of a holistic approach

The number of cancer cases is increasing worldwide. Technological advances have expanded treatment options for many patients. But even in the field of holistic healthcare, cancer treatment has evolved significantly. In addition to conventional treatments, the integration of complementary therapy for the treatment or care of cancer has gained momentum.

This offers patients a more comprehensive and holistic approach to their care. As healthcare providers deeply committed to patient well-being, we have witnessed the transformative impact that the integration of complementary therapies can have on those battling cancer.

Mental and physical impact of cancer

Cancer, both as a disease and as a treatment, exerts a heavy toll on the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of patients. Conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery are essential components of cancer treatment. But they often have side effects that are quite difficult to tolerate. This is where complementary therapies come into play.

What is complementary therapy for cancer patients?

Complementary therapies include a wide range of practices, including acupuncture, massage, meditation, yoga, nutritional therapy and more. These therapies are not intended to replace conventional treatments. Instead, they work with them to relieve symptoms, improve quality of life, and enhance the body’s natural healing processes.

Also read: This 50-year-old cancer patient beat Covid-19 at home with yoga

Acupuncture is used as a complementary therapy for stress relief. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the benefits of complementary therapy for cancer patients?

By addressing the holistic needs of patients, these therapies contribute to a more well-rounded and patient-centered approach to care.

1. Symptom Management: Many complementary therapies aim to reduce common side effects of cancer treatments, such as nausea, pain, fatigue and anxiety. For example, acupuncture and massage have been shown to effectively reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy, while mindfulness techniques such as meditation can relieve anxiety.

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2. Improved quality of life: The journey through cancer treatment can be emotionally and mentally taxing. Complementary therapies provide patients with coping mechanisms to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve overall emotional well-being.

3. Physical well-being: Practices such as yoga and exercise, tailored to individual abilities, can help improve physical strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health. These therapies contribute to improved energy levels and help patients maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives.

4. Nutritional Support: Good nutrition is crucial during cancer treatment to support the body’s healing processes. Nutritional therapy can provide patients with guidance in making nutritional choices that optimize their overall health.

Common cancers in women
Cancer patients need treatment that goes beyond traditional treatment. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Complementary therapies are not one size fits all

Always keep in mind that each patient’s cancer journey is unique. So keep the following things in mind to find something that suits you or your loved one’s needs.

*Complementary therapies should be tailored to the patient’s preferences, medical history, and treatment plan.
* An open dialogue between the patient, the oncologist and the complementary therapy practitioner is crucial. It ensures that everyone is on the same page and that patient safety remains paramount.
*While many complementary therapies show promise, it is important to rely on evidence-based approaches.
*Some complementary therapies may interact with certain medications or have contraindications.

Doctor’s note

Integrating complementary therapies into cancer care represents a progressive step toward holistic patient well-being. As a healthcare provider, I believe in the power of collaboration between conventional and complementary treatments. By addressing the physical, emotional and psychological aspects of a patient’s journey, we can provide a more comprehensive and patient-centered approach to cancer care, ultimately contributing to a better quality of life and better treatment outcomes.

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