What Are Alternative Lung Cancer Treatments?
Alternative lung cancer therapies can be used alongside standard lung cancer treatments, like surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, with the guidance of a medical team.
Keep in mind that alternative therapies for lung cancer cannot replace standalone treatments and instead can be integrated into your treatment plan.
Alternative lung cancer treatment is a subtype of integrative medicine, an approach to care that uses complementary therapies to support the mind, body, and spirit of the patient.
Some cancer centers may have integrative oncology (cancer treatment that includes alternative therapies) options available. Other centers may refer patients to resources outside of the cancer center.
These therapies are informed by a long history of wellness practices used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine from India. Some therapies can greatly benefit a patient’s overall health and ability to recover from treatment.
Examples of alternative therapies include:
- Body-focused interventions such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, and massage
- Mind-body methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, music therapy, and yoga
- Special diets, herbs, and vitamins
Never start any alternative therapy without first consulting a doctor.
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Types of Alternative Treatment for Lung Cancer
There are many types of alternative treatments for lung cancer. Some of the most common include the following.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that uses thin needles to stimulate and release tension in muscles and nerves within the body. It is a great way to reduce pain, relieve fatigue, and even ease nausea.
According to the National Cancer Institute, a study of 28 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients found that acupuncture greatly improved their fatigue and quality of life.
Another study found lung cancer symptoms such as coughing, chest pain, and fever were also reduced with acupuncture therapies.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils from flowers, trees, or other herbs for therapeutic benefits. The goal is to positively stimulate the brain’s emotional center.
Whether diffused into the air or used in massage, studies have shown that aromatherapy can be calming and alleviate anxiety, depression, pain, and nausea for cancer patients.
Lung cancer patients can use biofeedback to manage their stress and improve their quality of life. A 2015 study revealed that biofeedback helped NSCLC patients reduce stress and improve breathing and heart rates.
Chiropractors treat conditions that affect the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Lung cancer patients with bone and muscle pain may want to get chiropractic care.
However, they should first consult with their oncology team to determine whether chiropractic care is appropriate for them.
Herbal and Dietary Supplements
Lung cancer patients may take herbal supplements to prevent or manage lung cancer symptoms or the side effects of treatment.
A 2021 study revealed that monitored traditional Chinese medicine herbal therapy can strengthen the body’s immune system to fight lung cancer cells and reduce cancer side effects or other complications.
Common herbal supplements include:
- Echinacea (coneflower)
- St. John’s wort
Patients must consult with their oncologists before taking herbal supplements. This is because herbal remedies may be harmful.
For example, herbal remedies may:
- Affect how other medications work
- Disrupt radiation and chemotherapy
- Lower or raise blood pressure
- Thin the blood and increase the risk of bleeding
Another mind-body approach is hypnosis or hypnotherapy. This alternative treatment involves a hypnotherapist leading patients into deeply relaxed states.
Many people with lung cancer use hypnosis to cope with treatment and symptoms. It can also help with anxiety, depression, and stress.
Although hypnosis is generally safe, patients should not use it if they have certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, a personality disorder, or psychosis.
Massage Therapy and Reflexology
Massage therapists apply pressure to relax tight muscles, relieving tension and stress for lung cancer patients. Similarly, reflexology, a targeted therapy, focuses on pressure points in the hands and feet to alleviate pain and tension throughout the body.
Lung cancer patients may feel pain in the muscles and nerves in the:
- Upper back
By undergoing massage therapy, the pain can be eased. Massage therapy can also help the body drain and release toxins and improve blood flow.
The cost of some alternative treatments may not be covered by insurance. We may be able to help you get the money you need for these treatments. See if you’re eligible with a free case review.
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Meditation and Mindfulness Strategies
Meditation helps lung cancer patients quiet their mind from the distractions of pain, anxiety, and other worries.
By focusing on the breath or a word or phrase, people can feel more grounded and present in the current moment, which can have tremendous benefits for mental health and fatigue.
Meditative and mindful deep breathing may also help improve lung function.
Music therapy uses music to improve mood, reduce stress, boost self-expression, and cope with negative emotions.
A 2021 study in Support Care Cancer found music therapy was successful in addressing anxiety and sleep issues in lung cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.
Nutrition therapists may suggest different diets depending on the lung cancer patient’s health. For example, some doctors may recommend patients eat a varied diet high in vegetables and fruits and low in processed foods, red meats, and sugar.
Yoga and Gentle Movement
Yoga therapy is a low-impact exercise that can improve breathing for lung cancer patients, while also incorporating meditation and mindfulness.
Yoga and other gentle movements like walking and stretching can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while improving blood flow and immune system function.
Benefits of Alternative Treatment for Lung Cancer Patients
The advantages of alternative treatment for lung cancer vary depending on which therapies are used.
However, lung cancer patients can generally expect to feel less stress, pain, fatigue, anxiety, and depression if they incorporate alternative therapies into their treatment plans. They may also experience better sleep.
Keep in mind that alternative treatments are not always backed by science. Some can even hurt lung cancer patients by interacting with conventional treatments, making them less effective or causing more symptoms.
As you consider your options, talk to your nurse or doctor about any alternative or complementary treatment you want to use.
Find Alternative Treatments for Lung Cancer
Alternative treatments for lung cancer can have tremendous benefits on overall health in some cases. Clinical trials are being conducted every year to explore even more alternative treatments for lung cancer.
Many of these therapies have also been used as alternative mesothelioma treatments and to help those with other asbestos-related conditions.
If you are interested in incorporating alternative treatment for lung cancer into your medical plan, be sure to talk to your health care team. They can direct you to resources and help you understand the potential additional cost of alternative therapies.
Lung cancer treatment, whether standard or alternative, can be expensive. That is why Lung Cancer Group is here for you. If your lung cancer was caused by asbestos exposure, we can connect you with possible financial aid resources so you can afford the treatment you need.
Call (877) 446-5767 to learn more about how we can help you.
FAQs About Alternative Lung Cancer Treatments
What are alternatives to lung cancer treatment?
Alternative lung cancer treatments include practices like acupuncture, dietary changes, massage, and yoga. These treatments cannot replace standard lung cancer treatments, but they can help patients ease lung cancer symptoms and improve quality of life.
Can alternative treatments cure lung cancer?
Alternative treatments cannot cure lung cancer, but they can ease some symptoms and side effects of standard medical treatments.
It’s important to work with your cancer team to determine what alternative therapies can be incorporated into your treatment plan.
Can alternative treatments replace traditional treatments?
No, alternative treatments cannot replace traditional treatments. Replacing standard medical care with alternative treatments can pose dangers.
For example, if someone delays surgery or chemotherapy by using an alternative therapy, the cancer may grow and spread to other parts of the body in a process known as metastasis.
Do alternative treatments for lung cancer cost less than traditional treatments?
It depends. Many traditional treatments are covered by insurance, while most alternative treatments do not qualify for insurance coverage.
Thankfully, there are financial support resources available for lung cancer patients whose illnesses are linked to asbestos. Contact us today to see how we can help you get access to lung cancer compensation.
What is the most effective treatment for lung cancer?
Arguably, the most effective treatments for lung cancer are standard therapies like surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
Alternative cancer therapies and herbal medicine are effective at easing stress, anxiety, and depression. However, they are not effective at curing lung cancer. Talk to your oncology care team to learn more about your options and treatment plan.