Healthy Living

Alternative Treatments for Lung Cancer

Alternative therapies increasingly support the role of traditional medicine and treatment.

Alternative Treatments for Lung Cancer

Key Takeaways

  • Alternative therapies with fewer side effects promise to alleviate suffering without diminishing the quality of one’s life.
  • Merging traditional and alternative treatments maximize the benefits and speeds up recovery. 
  • The traditional and usual methods of treatment for cancer including lung cancer are chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. 

Lung cancer, also known as lung carcinoma is characterized by a malignant lung tumor caused by an uncontrolled growth of cells in tissues of the lungs. There are two main types of lung cancers-small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. It is widely known that lung cancer is the most common cause of death among cancers throughout the world. There are many causes of lung cancer but the main cause is smoking or passive smoking. The risk of lung cancer increases with the amount of cigarettes smoked and the frequency of smoking. Pipe and cigar smoking can also cause lung cancer. However, the risk from these is not as high as cigarette smoking. Passive smoking or the inhalation of smoke by nonsmokers also leads to an increased risk of developing lung cancer. Other causes or risk factors for lung cancer include inhalation of asbestos fibers, exposure to radon gas, lung diseases or previous history of lung diseases, air pollution, genetic predisposition and family history.

Symptoms of lung cancer vary according to the size and type of tumor. While many affected with lung cancer do not exhibit any symptoms at all, other patients exhibit lung cancer symptoms in the form of symptoms of cancer, symptoms related to metastasis, paraneoplastic symptoms and some non specific symptoms.

The traditional and usual methods of treatment for cancer including lung cancer are chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. These three pillars of traditional medicine and treatment exact a huge toll on the health of the patient. Though a permanent cure for cancer is still a distant dream, these treatments help relieve symptoms although they cause pain and suffering while the patient is undergoing them. In such cases, alternative therapies with fewer side effects promise to alleviate suffering without diminishing the quality of one’s life.

The topmost authorities in medical science are now more enthusiastic in recommending alternative treatments. Some of them are:

Acupuncture

Popular in Chinese traditional medicine, acupuncture applies heat, physical pressure and sequential lasers through delicate needle punctures to areas that are affected by cancer. Ultra-thin and flexible stainless steel needles puncture the skin at predetermined points to relieve chronic pain. The treatment is believed to provide respite from nausea and vomiting that follows after sessions of chemotherapy.

Hypnosis

During hypnosis, the hypnotherapist generates positive and comforting thoughts for the patients while guiding them into a trance like state of total relaxation. The procedure is very helpful in overcoming the fear and anxiety related to cancer and its treatments. It also helps reduce nausea and provides relief from painful symptoms.

Meditation

Managing lung cancer and its symptoms require a lot of strength. It also produces high anxiety and stress in patients suffering from it. It also generates feelings of hopelessness and negativity, making it difficult for the patients to heal quickly. Meditation attempts to calm the mind and free it from negative emotions. When the individual reflects inward and attains inner peace, healing energies get boosted.

Yoga

Yoga is the ancient Indian system of revitalizing health and promoting well-being through the close interaction of body, mind and spirit. A trained master or yogi can recommend body postures called yoga asanas which are tailored specifically to match each individual and their ailment. Breathing techniques and postures are combined with meditation for maximum relief from the symptoms of cancer.

Aromatherapy

The same therapies that science uses in fighting cancer are also the causes for irreparable harm. The patient fights the rapid growth of tumor through chemotherapy sessions but it is also this treatment that leads to nausea. The radiation treatment also adversely affects the patient through loss of healthy tissue.

Herbs and essential oils of herbal origin have always been popular in traditional medicine as an effective way of alleviating distress. The mental and emotional health of a patient can be healed with herbs. This is backed by clinical research.

Lavender aromatherapy is known to induce a state of calmness and restore poise in depressed individuals. Meditation receives a boost when frankincense is burned to help the patients suffering from cancer. The mood swings become better and the patient experiences positivity when the jasmine aromatherapy and its fragrance is inhaled. Apart from lavender and jasmine, peppermint was also used extensively in traditional medicine for combating nauseous sensations. Rosemary is also a good herb to use for lung cancer patients. Respiratory congestions and the pains associated with recurring coughs are remarkably reduced by rosemary aromatherapy. Rosemary sparingly mixed with jojoba oil, applied to joint of wrists, nape of the neck and to the back or earlobes relieve pain and soreness.

Massage

Massage has a huge role to play in relieving tension and creating a relaxed ambiance. Cancer patients often experience spasms in muscles and tied up knots in tissues which lead to considerable pain. Fortunately these pains and knots respond readily to physical pressure and gentle stimulation through a massage. A trained masseur works on the muscles to ease stiffness. Mild finger movements provide pressure to the muscles and the firm rubbing motion of the palm eases the muscle tension and helps it to uncoil from painful tightening.

Music Therapy

Cancer patients are increasingly using music therapy to get relief from pain and the side effects of chemotherapy and other treatments. Music therapy uses music to address a patient’s emotional and physical needs in a therapeutic environment. It can be used to treat stress caused by cancer and also helps in boosting a patient’s mood.

The Final Word

It may not be in the larger interests of the cancer patients to follow the traditional or alternative treatments and therapies in isolation. Merging traditional, alternative and standard clinical treatments maximize the benefits and speed up recovery for cancer patients. It is also important to engage the services of specialists who are extensively trained in alternative medicine to guide a patient on the path to recovery from cancer. Such specialists include therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and many more.