Besides traditional treatment, know the benefits of complementary therapy for cancer patients and how it can bring a difference!

The incidence of cancer cases is increasing across the world. Technological advancement has increased treatment options for many patients. But even in the realm of holistic healthcare, the management of cancer has evolved significantly. Alongside conventional treatments, the integration of complementary therapy for cancer treatment or care has gained traction.

This offers patients a more comprehensive and holistic approach to their care. As healthcare providers who are deeply committed to patient well-being, we have witnessed the transformative impact that integrating complementary therapies can have on individuals battling cancer.

Mental and physical impact of cancer

Cancer, both as an illness and its treatments, exerts a profound toll on the physical, emotional, and psychological well-being of patients. Conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are essential components of cancer management. But they often come with side effects that can be rather challenging to endure. This is where complementary therapies come into play.

What is complementary therapy for cancer patients?

Complementary therapies encompass a diverse range of practices, including acupuncture, massage, meditation, yoga, nutritional therapy and more. These therapies are not intended to replace conventional treatments. Rather, they work alongside them to alleviate symptoms, improve quality of life, and enhance the body’s natural healing processes.

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Acupuncture for cancer patients
Acupuncture is used as complementary therapy for stress relief. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the benefits of complementary therapy for cancer patients?

By addressing the holistic needs of patients, these therapies contribute to a more well-rounded and patient-centric approach to care.

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1. Symptom management: Many complementary therapies focus on reducing common cancer treatment side effects such as nausea, pain fatigue, and anxiety. For instance, acupuncture and massage have been shown to effectively mitigate chemotherapy-induced nausea, while mindfulness techniques such as meditation can alleviate anxiety.

2. Enhanced quality of life: The journey through cancer treatment can be emotionally and mentally taxing. Complementary therapies provide patients with coping mechanisms to reduce stress, promote relaxation and improve overall emotional well-being.

3. Physical well-being: Practices like yoga and exercise, tailored to individual capabilities, can help improve physical strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. These therapies contribute to better energy levels and help patients maintain a sense of normalcy in their lives.

4. Nutritional support: Proper nutrition is crucial during cancer treatment to support the body’s healing processes. Nutritional therapy can provide patients with guidance on making dietary choices that optimize their overall health.

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Cancer patients need management beyond the traditional treatment. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

Complementary therapies are not one size fits all

Always keep in mind that each patient’s cancer journey is unique. So, keep the following things in mind to find something that suits your or your loved one’s needs.

* Complementary therapies should be customised to the patient’s preferences, medical history, and treatment plan.
* An open dialogue among the patient, oncologist and complementary therapy practitioner is vital. It ensures that everyone is on the same page and that the patient’s safety remains paramount.
* While many complementary therapies show promise, it is important to rely on evidence-based approaches.
* Some complementary therapies may interact with certain medications or have contraindications.

Doctor’s note

Integrating complementary therapies in cancer care represents a progressive step towards holistic patient well-being. As a healthcare provider, I believe in the power of collaboration between conventional and complementary treatments. By addressing the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of a patient’s journey, we can offer a more comprehensive and patient-centered approach to cancer care, ultimately contributing to improved quality of life and better treatment outcomes.

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