IS IT POSSIBLE TO MANAGE A DISEASE LIKE CANCER USING NON-CONVENTIONAL MEANS? In my opinion the answer is a resounding yes! But, that does not mean that there is a magic bullet in the form of a specific herb or vitamin. I wish there was, but I don't think there is. At least I have not found it. It also does not mean that there isn't a role for conventional treatments. Heck, when chemo is a cure I will be the first to sign-up. The problem is that most times, especially with mesothelioma and other advanced solid cancers, it is not. In fact, choosing an alternative approach is more complicated than chemotherapy, radiation or surgery because with the holistic modalities there is no "one size fits all."

For example, if you have mesothelioma the chemotherapy regimen today is a combination of two drugs - pemetrexed (Alimta) and cisplatin or carboplatin. Typically, your age, cell type and staging will not dictate the kind of chemo you receive as first-line treatment. If your doctors recommend chemo, chances are that Alimta plus a platinum drug will be prescribed.

With alternative modalities, however, there are many different approaches. These approaches are based (or should be based) on the specific needs of the patient. Because all patients are individuals and their needs are all individualistic you can imagine that these therapies can take many forms. What works for me will probably not work for anyone else because what is going on in my body is probably different than what is going on in yours. That is why it is important to work with professional clinicians if you decide to go down the alternative road. A professional trained in this area is needed to figure out what exactly you need.

Now, here's another fact to consider - a naturopathic doctor or nutritionist cannot treat cancer. It is against the law. It fact, in some states, chemo, radiation and surgery are the only legal therapies for cancer. How then can a clinician treat cancer using non-traditional means? The answer is that they can't!

This is a critical point that is important to understand. While a medical oncologist treats cancer, a clinician using alternative approaches does not. The alternative clinician can only suggest various herbs, vitamins, and other natural modalities designed to give the patient's body what the body needs to manage the cancer. In other words, with a medical oncologist or surgeon the intervention itself (chemo or surgery) is designed to directly impact the cancer. In contract, alternative practitioners never treat the cancer, but treat the patient instead. The concept is that once the patient is strengthened or given what is missing then the patient's body can manage the cancer itself through its immune system and other biological processes. This explains why alternative practitioners don't talk about cancer treatment or cancer cures. They can't. Plus, this is not what they do. They treat the patient.

Also, when conventional doctors talk about how alternative approaches are unproven they are essentially correct. If by "proven" they mean that there have been clinical studies that have demonstrated a survival advantage with alternative approaches. In fact, while there have been thousands of studies that have demonstrated that certain herbs, vitamins, and mushrooms can kill various cancers in test tubes there have been very few studies that have tested them in actual patients. Let's think about this for a second. There are many studies that demonstrate that these natural approaches kill cancer in vitro (in test tubes and Petrie dishes) yet the studies never went any further. They were never tested in patients. Why is this?


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