Healthy Living

Lung Cancer : How to Treat it?

Lung Cancer : How to Treat it?

Key Takeaways

  • The main causes of lung cancer are smoking and passive smoking.
  • Lung cancer metastases early in the disease and is therefore difficult to treat and contain.  
  • By looking at things realistically through a traditional approach or a holistic one might appear as a solution to treating lung cancer.

Lung Cancer: There are two main types of lung cancer; small cell lung cancer (SCLC)  and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). These two types of lung cancers are based on the way the tumors grow and spread. Lung cancer has the highest rate of death toll out of all cancers in the US. The main causes of lung cancer are smoking and passive smoking. The constant exposure of toxins in the lungs damages cells throwing them out of balance. These damaged cells tend to start multiplying uncontrollably developing a tumor which results in lung cancer. These cancerous cells get into the bloodstream and spread to other parts of the body causing tumors elsewhere. This process is called metastasis. Lung cancer metastases early in the disease and is therefore difficult to treat and contain.  

Symptoms of Lung Cancer:

1.    Persistent coughing

2.    Wheezing

3.    Shortness of breath

4.    Coughing up blood with mucus

Traditionally lung cancer is treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. In some cases, cryotherapy which is a method that involves killing cancer cells by freezing is also used.

There are several reasons why traditional methods of treating lung cancer do not have a high success rate:

1.    The cancer is often not detected till it is in an advanced stage and symptoms begin to show.

2.    In many cases the tumor is inoperable.

3.    Chemotherapy and radiation might help to contain the disease but the side effects are very high and tend to weaken the patient by destroying their immune system. There is a high risk of complications from radiation and chemotherapy because the patient is immunocompromised.

Why Choose a Holistic Approach?

As mentioned earlier, traditional treatments for cancer are often invasive like surgery or have some very serious side effects as in the case of chemotherapy and radiation. The latter two follow the modus operandi of killing off all growing cells in the hope of destroying the tumor. Unfortunately, this blanket approach has the devastating effect of killing off healthy growing cells like hair, nails, skin and also the immune cells. This not only leaves the already unwell patient feeling weak and tired and in many cases depressed but also vulnerable to other diseases which they cannot fight off on their own. Any alternative that could help cure lung cancer without these devastating effects would be a most welcome option for the patient and their families.

In modern medicine, any disease is considered as a manifestation of structural abnormalities, injury or foreign vectors. These aberrations are treated symptomatically through drugs, dietary modification, exercise and physiotherapy. The holistic approach on the other hand, believes that the physical discomfort corrects itself when one’s lifestyle becomes more balanced and all our needs – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual are fulfilled.

In holistic treatments the emphasis shifts from the physical discomfort (and it symptoms) to the person entirely and his holistic (whole) needs. The guiding principle of holistic healing is that the emotional problems and spiritual angst if left unattended can manifest themselves as physical aberrations or disease. When the emotional and spiritual needs of the individual are met, the healing energies automatically take care of the disease.   

The Following are Some Universally Acclaimed Holistic Therapies and Treatments 

Aromatherapy

Fragrances or extracts of plant essences share a great history in the healing arts. Essential oils like lavender have been widely acclaimed as proof that plant oils and their aromas can change our moods and improve our well being.  There are well-established techniques for using these oils:

  • Inhaling drops of oil through steaming water
  • Using a vaporizer to diffuse essences into our surroundings
  • Soaking in a bath treated with essential oils
  • Using oils as face creams, lotions and body shampoos
  • Relieving pain and inflammation through aromatic compresses

Homeopathy

This is a science developed in Germany by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. Basically, it believes that substances that can produce symptoms mimicking those of the real disease can cure the disease if administered in minute doses. The lower the dosage, the higher the curative powers. For example, if an onion can produce symptoms of hay fever like watery eyes and irritated nose, a medicine prepared from onions can cure hay fever when administered in smaller doses.  About 80 percent of homeopathic medicines are sourced from plants and minerals, and a few from animal products like spider or snake venom.

Acupuncture

This is a 2000 year old system of medicine developed in China that uses tiny extremely fine stainless steel needles to pierce skin at predetermined points to relieve pain and physical discomfort. It is believed that needles piercing the skin which are stimulated through hand pressure or electrical energy, help revive and restore depleted energy in diseases or injured areas. Acupressure or the application of hand pressure to joints compliments this healing science.

Ayurveda

This is the ancient Indian healing science that evaluates a person holistically. It classifies people into distinct body types influenced by one or more of three dominating energies. It offers a system of holistic therapies that includes diet, exercise, herbal therapies, massage, meditation and spiritual practices that aim to restore vitality and heal disease by tackling each individual holistically.

Yoga

This is an ancient Indian system of holistic healing which encourages the adoption of myriad poses (called yoga asanas). These asanas stretch the body and internal organs even as individual relaxes through meditation and controlled breathing. Yoga benefits the individual by de-stressing sore muscles, promoting better blood flow, restoring glandular function, rejuvenating the lymphatic system and boosting healing energies.

The Bottom Line

Through the holistic sciences, the healing powers of the subconscious are harnessed to reduce the physical pain and distress of cancer treatment. These therapies have proven to be very effective in conquering the fatigue, nausea, muscular atrophy and loss of vitality which are the byproducts of cancer chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

By looking at things realistically through a traditional approach or a holistic one might appear as a solution to treating lung cancer. It is possible to work out a method to use both in collaboration to first contain the disease and then to enable the body to build up its defenses and heal itself. This might prove to be just the solution cancer patients are looking for.