Alternative and Complementary Therapies for Breast Cancer

According to breastcancer.org, breast cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. For patients with breast cancer, Naturopathic and Chinese medicine offer several alternative and complementary therapies that help to support the body during conventional treatment and treat the underlying causes of breast cancer after conventional care is completed. In this post, we explore a few of the alternative and complementary therapies* that are beneficial to patients with breast cancer.

If the patient is experiencing common side effects of modern medical treatments, try acupuncture. Patients who have undergone chemotherapy, radiation or surgery often experience side effects such as: nausea, fatigue, anxiety or depression. Acupuncture is helpful in treating each of these side effects. Additionally, a Chinese therapy called Moxabustion, uses a Chinese herb called Qing hao (in the Wormwood family) to warm specific acupuncture points, which helps alleviate nausea. Relief from nausea helps patients get more nutrition, which of course, is an important factor in healing the body.

If the patient is undergoing chemotherapy, try acupuncture and homeopathy. Both homeopathy and acupuncture enhance the body’s ability to heal itself. Since acupuncture and homeopathy are non-invasive energetic medicines, they do not interfere with chemotherapy. Both treatments support the liver and kidneys, the primary organs of elimination, with detoxification. This allows the chemotherapy to do its job, while minimizing damage to the body.

If the patient has undergone surgery, try acupuncture. Many patients who have undergone surgery of the breast develop lymph edema. This uncomfortable accumulation of fluid and lymph under the arm can be helped with acupuncture. Acupuncture, along with a special type of moxibustion called Tiger warmer moxa work to reduce scar tissue and reduce swelling. This has been found to significantly reduce lymph edema.

If the patient is undergoing radiation, try acupuncture and/or homeopathy. Homeopathy can be helpful for patients who have undergone radiology and have experienced burns. Homeopathic Causticum or Cantharis can help with acute burns. Aloe Vera is also very effective.

To treat cancer and prevent re-occurrence, we highly recommend Naturopathic support and supplementation. Once a person has had the diagnosis of cancer, it is important to address what caused the cancer in the first place. The cause is often related to liver detoxification, an unbalanced immune system and unresolved mental emotional issues. It is important to address these areas because even though the tumor(s) have been removed, the causative factors that allowed the tumors to grow in the first place are still there. Therefore it is important to work with a Naturopathic doctor who is trained in Cancer care. Treatment may involve herbal medicine that supports the immune system. Curcuma (Turmeric) has excellent cancer-fighting properties. Immune-enhancing mushrooms, such as Cordyceps, Coriolus and Reishi boost the immune system as well. Nutritional supplements such as melatonin and Vitamin D are cancer preventing, as well as green tea, Vitamin A, C and E, which are powerful antioxidants. Probiotics also support the immune system. As with every Naturopathic consultation, nutrition is a key component in rebuilding the foundation of health. This often involves teaching the patient to eliminate many of the standard American food items from their kitchen and learning how to cook healthful, anti-inflammatory nutrition.

*The recommended course of treatment varies by individual and drug-herb interactions must be checked by a qualified practitioner.

Photo Credit: SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget