The goal of natural(natural) medicine is to balance the whole person — physically, mentally, and emotionally — while conventional medicine does its work. For many people diagnosed with breast cancer, natural medicine has helped to:

  • relieve symptoms
  • ease treatment side effects
  • improve quality of life

 

Researchers are working to better understand the value and benefit of natural medicine in breast cancer.

What is Natural Medicine?

Natural/ Complementary medicine is used to describe therapeutic techniques that are not part of conventional medicine. Natural therapies are used as a “complement” or addition to conventional medicine.

Natural medicine is not alternative medicine. Natural medicine is USED WITH conventional medicine. Alternative medicine is USED INSTEAD OF conventional medicine. It might help you to add yoga, tai chi, or massage to your regular treatment plan. But you should NEVER replace any part of your regular treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormonal treatment) with something else.

Conventional medicine has been proven to be safe and effective by numerous scientific studies. While some studies show that people diagnosed with breast cancer can get benefits from natural medicine, it’s important to know that natural therapies usually don’t undergo the same kinds of rigorous testing as conventional medicine.

Natural medicine includes techniques such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, support groups, and yoga. Sometimes called holistic medicine, natural medicine typically addresses how disease affects the whole person: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. NourishDoc,  (http://www.nourishdoc.com ) is trying to build a community focused on evidence and outcome in Integrative and functional medicine.

A number of studies have found that up to 80% of breast cancer survivors have used at least one natural technique.To help doctors and patients understand which natural therapies are safe and effective for people diagnosed with breast cancer, the Society for Integrative Oncology released guidelines that make recommendations about more than 80 natural therapies in November 2014.

Healing Benefits of Natural Medicine

People with breast cancer often have physical symptoms to deal with on a daily basis, such as pain, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Some of these come from the disease itself. Others are side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, or hormonal therapy.

While scientific research on most natural therapies is relatively new and the studies are small, early results show that some natural therapies may help ease physical and emotional symptoms in some people. When combined with conventional medicine, natural therapies may offer a more integrated approach to healing.

Each natural therapy works on different symptoms. Below are some of the most common symptoms and side effects of breast cancer and treatment and the natural therapies that have been reported to help.

 

  • Physical symptoms

 

Symptom Natural Medicine Technique
Pain
Nausea/Vomiting
Fatigue
High blood pressure
Hot flashes
Headache
Muscle tension

 

 

  • Emotional symptoms

 

 

Symptom Natural Medicine Technique
Anxiety/Stress/Fear
Depression

In a recent Study, Acupuncture appeared to provide effective relief from hot flashes among Korean women receiving antiestrogen therapy after surgery for breast cancer, and the effects lasted for at least 1 month after termination of treatment.

 

References