Copyright (c) 2008 Stephen Lau
To be diagnosed with cancer is a traumatic experience in life. Out of desperation, a cancer patient often immediately turns to different cancer treatment options. There is an array of treatment options available, both conventional and unconventional, that it may be stressful for a cancer patient to make a wise choice.
Conventional cancer treatments generally include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.
Cancer surgery is an invasive procedure involving the removal of a cancerous tumor. Surgery is generally recommended if the cancer is operable, if it is in its early stage (there are four stages of cancer: the first stage being the early development stage, and the fourth stage indicative of advanced cancer), or if the tumor is localized, that is, without spreading to other parts of the body. The problem is that it may sometimes be difficult to determine the exact stage of cancer development.
All surgery is invasive, and all cancer surgery is traumatic – causing cancer stress. Cancer surgery reduces the body’s resistance to cancer, and therefore predisposing the patient to recurrence of the disease. In addition, surgical biopsy may actually contribute to the spread of cancer, according to some studies.
Chemotherapy involves the application of chemicals not only to shrink the cancer but also to wipe out any cancerous cell that may remain hidden in the body after all visible cancer has been removed during the surgery.
The problem with chemotherapy is that these chemicals are extremely toxic not only to cancerous cells but also to nearby healthy cells and tissues. These toxic chemicals suppress bone marrow, which may lead to low immunity to infections due to reduction in white blood cell production. Infection could be a major cause of disease in patients who are already weak in immunity. Other lethal side effects of chemotherapy include damage to muscles of the heart, loss of fertility, and risk of developing a second cancer. In addition, loss of appetite, diarrhea, fatigue and nausea are some of the other unpleasant side effects as well.
Radiation therapy is the use of high-intensity X-rays to destroy cancerous cells. Essentially, chemotherapy therapy damages cells by destroying the genetic material that controls how cells grow and divide. Radiation is much more harmful to cancerous cells than it is to normal cells. While both healthy and cancerous cells are damaged by radiation, the goal of radiation treatment is to destroy as few normal, healthy cells as possible during the radiation process.
In mainstream treatments, more than half of the patients receive some type of radiation therapy to kill cancerous cells. Radiation therapy may be used before surgery to shrink a cancerous tumor, during surgery to direct large doses of radiation at a tumor, or after surgery to inhibit the growth of any remaining cancerous cells. Radiation therapy may also be used with chemotherapy not only to destroy cancerous cells, but also to shrink tumors in order to decrease the pressure, pain or other symptoms they may have caused.
Sores or ulcers in the mouth, throat, or intestines may develop after radiation therapy, causing difficulties in eating, thereby affecting the nutrition of patients. In addition, patients who have undergone radiation therapy may have a higher risk of developing leukemia.
Remember, cancer is a multi-billion dollar industry, involving pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession. This alone explains why Western medicine does not want any focus on unconventional cancer treatments. As a matter of fact, most Western doctors know very little about alternative cancer treatments because these unconventional treatments seldom find their way into prestigious medical journals. Some states even have enacted laws to prohibit unorthodox cancer treatments. Understandably, there are many unethical cancer quacks exploiting and preying on the fears of many cancer patients. However, some unconventional treatments are effective in combating and controlling the disease.