Friday, January 10, 2014

Thoughts on alternative cancer treatments

There are lots of alternative cancer treatments out there. They include everything from all natural to the vast pharmaceutical industry conspiracy to get rich on the backs of the average American cancer patient.

When I say alternative I do not refer to things like acupuncture etc which I consider to be additional, holistic options that are added to other treatment protocols. I am referring to things like herbs or supplements or dietary changes to cure cancer. I also believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinion on what should be their treatment protocol. But they need to understand that their choices may not lead to the best outcomes.

When I was first diagnosed I met a woman who was probably in her early 70s. She had decided that she was only going to have surgery and was going to skip the suggested chemotherapy and radiation because it was her time and she did not want to go through it. She had told her children as well and made her decision. She seemed pretty calm about it too. I was a little shocked at the time but then decided that it was her option.

I am also an avid follower (well maybe a little less these days simply because I am busier) of Kris Carr and her Crazy Sexy Cancer. (A tip from me - if you are a woman diagnosed with any kind of cancer, go read her first book and see her movie and you will understand why you need your posse and attitude to get you through it.) She is chock full of wellness and living healthier and is probably close to ten years out from a diagnosis of untreatable cancer. There are all sorts of alternative ideas in her head and on her website - which you should also join. Raw veganism may not be my cup of tea but I admire what she has done for all of us cancer people and I have adopted some of her suggestions.

However, some of the things that I have seen people adopt to treat their cancer just amaze me. I have a friend who decided that she could treat her cancer by taking some herb every day - I can't remember the name but even online it was recommended not to be taken every day but three weeks on and one week off. I don't know how much she was taking it but she has since had a recurrence.

Then there is a case in the  news this week where a woman in Colorado died after injecting Cesium chloride into her breast cancer. Cesium is a chemical element which is actually a metal. It has a radioactive isotope that is used in medical applications. Cesium chloride is a supplement which some proponents say will help cure cancer. But has no medical proof. And it is not supposed to be injected.

Finally, if you adopt an alternative treatment instead of a traditional treatment protocol for your cancer, I do not think you should be surprised if your insurance doesn't cover it and it will not cover additional tests and scans to see if your disease has progressed. Insurance companies have protocols based on proven treatment protocols. For example, the standard to treat that cancer is a CT scan followed by six rounds of whatever chemotherapy infusion and then follow with another CT scan to see how the cancer has responded to treatment. But if you skip the treatment they cover, they aren't going to pay for another CT scan.

Its your body and your choice but you need to remember you have to accept the outcome of your decisions.

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