There is perhaps nothing more terrifying then hearing the doctor utter the word “cancer.” The usual stages of grief are visited in turn as though death has already been promised. While the survival rate of most cancers is rather high with modern treatments, those treatments can be very difficult on the patient. There is hope for everyone even after they are diagnosed. Anything that makes a patient feel better is a valuable treatment option given how correlated hope and a positive outcome can be.

While traditional treatments are geared at eliminating the cancer cells through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, there’s more to a patient than their disease. Integrative medicine involves alternative therapies to work with the traditional treatments and take care of the person, not just the cancer. With numerous options to choose from, it’s possible to carefully arrange the treatment plan that’s perfect for each patient on an individual basis.

Hypnotherapy or psychotherapy are common treatments for the anxiety that cancer can cause. Falling asleep is difficult for many because of the discomfort and stress–practitioners recommend yoga, meditation, guided relaxation and aromatherapy as a way to help manage the stress and get much-needed rest. Tai chi can be an excellent way to keep the body moving, work through some of the aches and pains and still feel centered. Holistic and homeopathic remedies may not be the first course of treatment but they still serve a valuable purpose in helping the patient feel more like themselves so they can better fight the disease.

In addition to the holistic approach, there are non-traditional medical treatments available. Triggering the patient’s own immune system to join in the fight, immunotherapy is growing in popularity. Setting the immune system on a direct attack of the tumors, an artificial protein can be introduced that tells the while blood cells exactly what kind of cancer it should be fighting and rejecting. For immediate results, many people praise intravenous nutritional therapy. The nausea and dry heaving that come with chemotherapy make it difficult for cancer patients to get adequate nutrition and anyone will be weak if they haven’t eaten in too long. Patients feel stronger right away when a high-quality meal is introduced directly into their bloodstream, giving their body what it needs to keep going.

There are many ways to be right in most of life’s problems. Cancer is no different. The helpless feeling that cancer brings can force patients into a prescribed plan without realizing that they can add to that plan if need be. Integrated medicine for cancer treatment will focus on the whole patient and their fight for life, not just the fight to kill the cancer.

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