Due to the lack of concrete evidence proving or disproving the effectiveness of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for the treatment of prostate cancer, the decision to explore alternative therapies is often based on personal motives rather than patient criteria.
What are these reasons? Men who enrolled in alternative prostate cancer treatments as a complement to traditional medicine reported stress reduction, psychological well-being, and relief of treatment side effects as the leading factors influencing their decision to pursue CAM therapies. On the other hand, patients who elected to deploy alternative treatments for prostate cancer in place of established approaches to care listed treatment dissatisfaction, cancer stage, personal belief, and faith in natural modalities of treatment as key motivators.
Patients who consider prostate cancer alternative treatments, such as diet and herbal remedies, should first consult with the physician involved in their care as complementary and alternative therapy is not without risk.
Prostate Cancer Alternative Medicine as a Complement to Standard Care
Physical and emotional stress is a reality for patients diagnosed with prostate cancer. Not only can stress be a result of the disease itself, but also the outcome of rigorous prostate cancer treatments. As such, complementary and alternative therapies, like meditation, yoga, and massage, have been used in conjunction with standard treatments to reduce stress and improve patient quality of life. According to a study conducted on outpatient cancer patients using a form of CAM therapy at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 79.5 percent reported combining conventional methods of care with mind/body practices, like meditation, and 66.9 percent enrolled in movement/physical therapies, such as chiropractic treatment, exercise, or massage therapy.1 In addition to stress control, relief from treatment side effects, like nausea, fatigue, and pain, is another reason why men consider alternative therapies for prostate cancer. As with stress, mind/body practices and manipulative therapies can be used for this purpose in addition to biologically-based treatments, like prostate cancer diets, energy medicines, such as Reiki, and whole medical systems, like acupuncture. In general, complementary prostate cancer alternative medicine leave patients with a sense of gratification and assurance, knowing additional measures were taken to increase wellbeing outside of standard care.
Prostate Cancer Diets, Supplements, and Herbs as an Alternative Prostate Cancer Treatment
When examining the occurrence of prostate cancer in world populations, Japanese and Mediterranean men are less likely to develop prostate cancer, leaving many to attribute diet as a factor influencing the occurrence of the disease. What's more, vitamins, herbs, and supplements, are believed by many to have an effect on the rate of prostate cancer growth. Some individuals even attribute a potential prostate cancer cure via natural, biological means, like prostate cancer diets and nutritional supplements. It is important to note, however, that natural does not equate to safe. Herbs can act like drugs when taken and may result in unanticipated side effects. What's more, nutrition and supplements may negatively impact conventional treatments and adversely affect the intended outcome of care. For this reason, it is crucial that patients consult with their physician before delving into biologically-based approaches to alternative prostate cancer treatment.
Prostate Cancer Alternative Treatments
Few patients forego conventional prostate cancer care, but of those who explore alternative treatments for a prostate cancer cure, motivating factors include treatment dissatisfaction, belief in natural modalities of care, and stage of disease progression.2 A recent study conducted on cancer patients spanning fourteen different countries revealed less than 4 percent of surveyed patients pursued alternative treatment as the sole approach to cancer care.3
1 Richardson, Mary Ann, Sanders, Tina, Palmer, J. Lynn, Greisinger, Anthony, Singletary, S. Eva. Complementary/Alternative Medicine Use in a Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Implications for Oncology: J Clin Oncol 2000 18: 2505-2514
2 Ernst E. The role of complementary and alternative medicine. Br Med J 2000; 321: 1133-1135
3 Use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients: a European survey
Annals of Oncology Advance Access published on April 1, 2005, DOI 10.1093/annonc/mdi110.
Ann Oncol 16: 655-663.