Cancer remains an unexplored problem nowadays. Although there are many effective treatments, continuous researches, and development of new drugs, traditional medicine cannot guarantee one hundred percent recovery from the disease and the absence of its recurrence. Some forms of cancer cannot be treated. Doctors can only relieve symptoms and prolong life. Therefore, the disease appears to some patients to be something mysterious and invincible. It is quite understandable to try to cure something mysterious and unknown by mystical and unknown methods. Limitations of classical medicine generate dominance of unconventional techniques, which is not observed in any other sphere (Pelton, 1994).
Many people turn to unconventional methods out of desperation. Others may choose out of disappointment with physicians or due to the denial of health care. According to unofficial statistics, up to 60% of cancer patients turn to unconventional methods of treatment. More than 80% of them hide the fact of their use from physicians. Up to 20% of cancer patients prefer non-traditional treatments to classical medicine. Therefore, this question is relevant and requires a detailed discussion. There is no reasonable information for or against non-traditional cancer treatment. On the one hand, traditional medicine talks about the inapplicability of any alternative treatments. On the other hand, there are different techniques that are actively promoted on television with proper frequency (Sackman, 2003).
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Many experts in the field of oncology argue that the use of non-traditional treatment methods is dangerous and brings more harm than good. However, it happens sometimes vice versa as when traditional medicine cannot help, alternative means and methods can bring real benefits. It leads to the conclusion that there is no traditional and alternative medicine as there is universal medicine the main aim of which is to get rid of the disease (Sackman, 2003). It does not matter what means this medicine has used and how they are called. Being a part of universal medicine, a variety of techniques can be used to treat cancer like traditional drug therapy, physical therapy, aroma therapy, Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, essential oils, herbal treatments, acupuncture, and many other techniques developed over the long history of healing.
Aromatherapy is a special treatment that uses essential aromatic oils derived from plants. Essential oils are unique combinations of ingredients with the flavor of a plant. People began to use essential oils more than 6000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians used essential oils for special rituals and mummification of dead bodies. In England, these oils were used since the 13th century to treat wounds and burns. Essential oils were used by people all over the world throughout the history of mankind. Aromatic oils treatment system is based on inhalation, compresses, baths, and massages. Massage is performed by using a special technique that presupposes the oil being absorbed through skin pores. Some doctors are against massage. They fear that massage as a means of stimulating lymphatic system can provoke the movement of cancer cells along lymph and the formation of metastasis. However, their fears are based primarily on the concept of a more vigorous massage form. Nowadays, soft forms of massage are widely used. More and more doctors are convinced that this massage brings no harm, but only benefits allowing patients to get a sense of comfort and relaxation. More aroma therapists work with cancer patients in hospitals using methods of soft massage. At the same time, it should be noted that massage cannot be done for patients with Hodgkin's disease or bone cancer. Aromatherapy reduces pain and swelling after the procedure. Lavender oil can be used for pressure ulcers and as a sleep aid (Lis-Balchin, 2006).
Each type of oil affects a certain body system. Everyday treatment with essential oils promotes cell renewal, physical and mental tranquility, improvement of the performance of diseased organs and tissues, stimulation of blood circulation and metabolism, pain relief, and improvement of the digestive system and skin. Some essential oils have been described as the ones having anti-cancer properties. There has been no evidence in support of these allegations. However, the opposite has not been proved either. Traditional use of plants was often effective in order to be able to view them as additional assistance to the main treatment. These oils include bergamot, cedar, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, garlic, geranium, hyssop, onions, and violet leaf. However, when choosing oils for cancer patients, it should be borne in mind that a person cannot use oils that lead to high levels of estrogen in cases of breast cancer and any other form of cancer associated with estrogen. Two types of oils from plants of Melaleuca niaouli and tea tree have been used to relieve pain from superficial burns in the result of cobalt radiotherapy (Lis-Balchin, 2006).
All over the world, Chinese medicine, especially in terms of cancer treatment, is gaining more popularity and importance. There is an opportunity to cure cancer in different ways via the Chinese medicine:
- Qigong, i.e. an art promoting self-regulation of the body;
- Herbal medicine;
Followers of the Chinese medicine are focused on reducing negative side effects that occur after the application of harmful therapies, namely on the increase of immunity and a bar of vitality. This method of treatment is called "maintaining normal Qi". Qi is the energy of life that unites a man and the cosmos. If people follow the Chinese medicine traditions concerning cancer treatment, following results can be achieved: minimizing the size of the tumor, preventing the development of cancer, boosting the immune system, improving the endocrine system, and increasing metabolism. Treating cancer with the help of the Chinese medicine as a constituent presupposes the use of broth from various herbs. The use of such concoctions effectively protects internal organs and helps to eliminate negative side effects of harmful treatments such as nausea, pain, and insomnia (Lahans, 2007).
Cancer occurs due to the disorders in the functioning of organs. Therefore, the Chinese treatment does not pay attention to the reduction of the size of the tumor and the victory of cancer cells and is aimed at regulating and balancing organs on the whole. Decoction is mainly applied to lead to a harmonious balance in the body, to relieve painful disorders, and to remove noxious growths from the body. The goal of the Chinese medicine is to relieve symptoms, extent the patient's life (quality of life), increase immunity, and contain tumors (Lahans, 2007).
In Ayurveda, cancer is the disease that affects all three constitutions of the body. The energy of digestion and other energies are weak and toxic substances begin to accumulate in the body. Cancer is like the negative life energy. It is a kind of a parasite that holds a strong position in the body. Negative energy usually occurs due to the excess of air that moves down. That is why, disorders associated with it such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea provide the framework through which the disease occurs. Cancer cells that lack oxygen are the expression of growth in the body that does not follow the rules of the life force. Religious therapy is an unconventional cancer treatment. In Ayurveda, precious stones are used in the treatment. A blue sapphire has antitumor quality. It helps to put to rest the negative effect on the body. It is advisable to wear it with other stones that produce the positive effect. A diamond stone is important in preserving and extending life. Diamonds, yellow sapphires, and yellow topazes are the best energy stones. They increase the immune system. Ruby, garnet, and red coral promote better blood circulation. They help to overcome the stagnation caused by tumor. Emerald and peridot help to alleviate pain and disharmony (Sharma, Clark, & Micozzi, 2011).
Followers of the Ayurvedic medicine insist on sticking to the diet. Meat and dairy products are strictly forbidden as well as a lot of protein because cancer is a protein by nature. Cancer is the disease that occurs in the body due to a high level of consumption of meat or protein. The focus of the diet should be fresh vegetables and juice such as celery, dandelion, sprouted sunflower seeds, sprouted barley, and wheat (Sharma, Clark, & Micozzi, 2011).
Nature has prepared medicine from all diseases. Even in those cases when herbs cannot completely heal an illness, still benefits from medicinal plants are boundless. They help to extend the life of the terminally ill and facilitate their suffering and can remove unbearable pain without the use of narcotic analgesics. Properly used medicinal plants are less toxic than chemical-pharmaceutical products, are much easier tolerated, and have virtually no side effects. In addition, herbal treatment is based on thousands of years of vast experience. Therefore, it is reasonable to use medicinal plants in the process of cancer treatment (Tierra, 2003).
There are a lot of recipes and advice concerning cancer treatment that mainly deals with the use of healing qualities of plants. Plants used in medicine to treat cancer can inhibit the growth of tumors, destroy infected cells, and allow growing healthy cells. They usually help the body to correct failures in its natural defense mechanisms. Propolis is widely used for the cancer treatment in medicine. It can be used even if a patient has undergone irradiation with cobalt. Propolis inhibits cancer cells and thus helps normal cells to grow and develop. This drug inhibits the growth of cancer cells and in the long-term treatment can eradicate them completely (Tierra, 2003).
In any case, there is no matter what methods a person will try, but he/she should have a consultation with a physician. A person cannot start any treatment without the consent of a doctor as it may seriously harm the body. With the development of cancer, body undergoes major changes and upheavals. Every person should understand that non-traditional cancer treatments cannot fully substitute classical treatment methods.