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- Cancer is the most dreaded and complicated non-communicable disease, with some getting cured and some getting a prolonged life after treatment.
- The conventional cancer treatment modalities are believed to be costly, are known to have side-effects, and the disease can still relapse.
- There is an ever-increasing demand for traditional/ natural medicine (CAM) by cancer patients.
- Majority of the cancer patients, worldwide, resort to complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) -
- For reducing the side effects of conventional treatment, enhance quality of life (QOL) and improve clinical outcomes.
- Apprehension of failure - of any single line of treatment failing to arrest/ cure the disease prompts patients/ caregivers to try out multiple approaches, at times frantically, with a hope to improve prognosis.
- Most of the patients do not disclose their CAM approaches to their medical oncologists.
- The treatment plans, in a multi-dimensional scenario as mentioned above, thus are largely un-coordinated and enhances the risk of drug interactions and adverse events which can jeopardize the chances of achieving the overall treatment goals.
What is Naturopathic Integrative Oncology?
Naturopathic Integrative Oncology attempts bringing in appropriate CAM therapies that are evidence based, safe, effective and which synergistically complement the conventional treatment modalities making the treatment as a whole all the more effective through improved/ optimized clinical outcomes (especially QOL & OS) and reduced adverse events. It helps manage cancer symptoms, control side-effects of cancer therapies, improve the state of physical & mental wellbeing, and speed up recovery. An integrated approach to cancer treatment can not only help add days to the life of a patient but also can help add life to the days that a patient gets to survive.
Why Naturopathic Integrative Oncology?
- Cancer is a very complicated disease and its management presents with an enormous challenge. While the standard of care, by virtue of having demonstrated high clinical efficacy, have been chemotherapy, radiation and / or surgery, there still are treatment challenges owing to side effects, drug resistance, and irresponsiveness to conventional treatment of certain advanced stage cancers. It hence requires a strategic, well-researched, holistic & all encompassing/ integrated team based approach to control the disease even more effectively. This necessitates the use of suitable CAM therapies as an adjuvant to conventional therapy.
- Improved clinical outcomes, especially quality of life (QOL) & overall survival (OS). It facilitates patients to not only prolong survival but also live life well.
- Avert adverse events/ reactions that may result owing to an oversight of the integrative oncology essentials.
- Cost effective treatment and increased patient satisfaction. It allows a customized/ individualized integrative treatment for each patient basis his financial status, clinical history, diagnosis, current treatment regime, spiritual belief, psychological & physical adverse effects etc all.
How (& Where) can Naturopathic Integrative Oncology Help?
- Integrative Support (CAM)
- For ameliorating cancer symptoms & side effects of cancer therapies thereby improving QOL. To exemplify, anxiety, depression, cancer related pain, weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, hiccups, diarrhoea, gas/ flatulence, mucositis, alopecia, constipation, anorexia, cough, sleep disturbance/ insomnia, headache, anaemia, peripheral neuropathy etc all can be managed effectively using CAM therapies.
- Support, in line with the above-mentioned, can be rendered at any point during a patient’s illness to help him feel comfortable.
- Integrative Cancer Treatment (CAM) for patients who -
- Consciously choose to not go for full scale conventional treatment for whatsoever reasons.
- Have advanced malignancies which do not respond any further to conventional therapy. Such patients can seek CAM treatment for not only improving QOL but also add days to life to the extent possible contextually.
Note: However, for both the treatment categories mentioned above, should there be any severe aggravation of existing symptoms or acute health conditions, one needs to promptly seek emergency & competent medical help, as locally available, to address the same suitably.
CAM Modalities in Naturopathic Integrative Cancer Treatment:
- Diet & Nutrition/ Lifestyle
- Herbal/ Botanical medicine
- Dietary supplements/ Vitamins
- Exercise, Yoga & Meditation
- Music therapy
- Reiki/ Energy Healing
- Massage/ Reflexology
Naturopathic Integration Requirements?
It is essential on the part of the natural medicine practioner(s) to clearly understand, at least, the following key aspects (of the CAM Tx modality considered) for a favourable integration (with the ongoing conventional treatment regime) -
- Patient’s current status including his clinical history, family history, diet & lifestyle, diagnosis, treatment regime, physical/ psychological make-up, belief system, financial capability and any other explicit requirement of the patient.
- Evidence based clinical efficacy & safety profile.
- Action mechanism.
- Herb drug interactions
- Side effects
- Long term health impact
- Dosage, mode of administration & duration etc
I'm 29 years old. I have fat balls under my skin. May be they called neurofibroma or a some thing how to get rid of them is surgery the only remedy. Please let me know.
Hi I am 20 years old. I have been suffering from back pain about 1 year. There is a node like thing on the left side of my lower back and I think that is causing the pain. What is the node like thing?
Lung cancer is also known as pulmonary carcinoma or cancer of the lung. It occurs when DNA mutations develop in the cells/ tissues of the lungs leading up to uncontrolled growth in the tissues of the lung. By far, it is known to be the most common cancer in Asia.
1. Type: lung cancers can present as one of the following types:
- Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC): Most common type of lung cancer and constitutes nearly 85% of all lung cancers. The sub-types of NSCLC are as follows:
- Large cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SqCC) (Epidermoid)
- Adenocarcinoma – accounts for majority of the NSCLC.
- Small Cell Lung Cancer (SCLC): It is also known as oat meal cancer and tends to spread (metastasize) quickly. This constitutes about 15% of the lung cancers.
- Mesothelioma: It is a rare cancer that develops in the mesothelial cells of the pleural or peritoneal surfaces. It usually arises in the pleural membrane lining the lungs, known as pleural mesothelioma. One that arises from the peritoneum is called the peritoneal mesothelioma and the one that arises from the pericardium is known as pericardial mesothelioma. Lastly, it can also arise from the tunica vaginalis known as testicular mesothelioma. People working with or prior exposure to asbestos are mostly at risk of developing mesothelioma. The latency period between time of exposure and development of mesothelioma can be somewhere between 20 to 40 years. Maximum of the patients who develop mesothelioma are men.
2. Gender: It affects the male populace predominantly. It is more common in men than in women and in those of lower economic status. However, the incidence of lung cancer, in women too, is on the rise of late.
3. Etiology: Cigarette/ Tobacco smoking remains the most important cause of lung cancer accounting for 85 – 90% of the cases. Incidence/ risk is proportionate to the number of cigarettes smoked irrespective of the age. Also, environmental toxins including smoke from burning black tar, exhaust gases from automobiles etc. too contribute actively to various lung diseases including cancer. People working in asbestos manufacturing factories who are exposed to asbestos dust are also likely to get lung cancer. Tuberculosis too is an additive risk factor. Again, people who have received ionizing radiation especially to treat Hodgkin Lymphoma or other malignancies also run the risk of developing lung cancer. Above-mentioned causes apart, genetic factors may also play a role.
4. Features: Lung cancer clinically presents in the following ways mainly.Signs & symptoms of malignant mesothelioma are as enumerated below
1. Difficult/ labored breathing (Dyspnea)
2. Chest pain
3. Palpable chest wall mass
4. Discordant chest wall expansion
5. Weight loss (Cachexia)
7. Night sweats
Signs & symptoms of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are as enumerated below. Majority of patients are symptomatic at diagnosis
8. Chronic cough
9. Difficult/ labored breathing (Dyspnea)
10. Chest pain
11. Blood stained sputum (Hemoptysis)
13. Weight loss (Cachexia)
14. Loss of appetite (Anorexia)
16. Bone pain
17. Pleural or pericardial effusion
18. Superior vena cava syndrome
19. Brachial plexopathy
20. Neurologic pain
21. Hypercalcemia of malignancy
Signs & symptoms of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) are as enumerated below
Symptoms as per the points 8 – 18 depicted above for NSCLC are applicable for SCLC as well. Additionally, patients suffering from SCLC may have:
23. Horner syndrome
5. Screening: is generally recommended for asymptomatic/ symptomatic populations as surveillance for high risk individuals – who are either current or former smokers (quit smoking within the last 15 years), have at least a 30 pack year smoking history and those who do not have any prior history of lung cancer. The goal of screening, as usual, is to be able to detect & diagnose lung cancer at an early stage which is potentially curable. It is mostly radiologic with a low dose helical computed tomography (CT) scan being more effective in detecting early stage lung cancer than a chest radiograph can.
6. Diagnosis: Abnormal blood test results may be indicative of malignancy, but a follow up imaging/ biopsy is always the gold standard for accurate diagnosis. Following are the diagnostics employed mainly:
- Blood: Hb may be low, TLC, ESR and polymorphs increased. Adenocarcinomas are likely to express thyroid transcription factor 1 (TTF-1) or carcinoembyonic antigen (CEA). On the other hand, mesotheliomas are likely to express Wilms Tumor -1 (WT-1) protein and Calretinin.
- Imaging: Thoracoscopy, Bronchoscopy, X-Ray, CT Scan etc all. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) / CT scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan help detect metastasis, if any.
- Biopsy: It clinches the histologic diagnosis, and the nature of the disease.
7. Treatment: Conventional treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy as contextually appropriate. Simultaneously, an adjunctive or integrative naturopathic treatment with suitable complementary & alternative medicines (CAM) too can help improve clinical outcomes and facilitate recovery as would be feasible contextually.
8. Prognosis: preventive measures, earlier diagnosis and right early treatment is key for an effective therapeutic management & better prognosis. Like most other cancers, the chances of cure for an early stage lung cancer are more. The cure/ recovery chances are influenced by the grade, stage of cancer, recurrence and the patient’s general health & vitality etc all. The primary determinant of prognosis in NSCLC is the stage at which the cancer is diagnosed. For non-metastatic cancers, however, it is the nodal status that determines the stage and hence the prognosis.
9. Prevention: rightly said, prevention is always a better choice. Cigarette smoking is to be avoided by all means as it is the single major cause of lung cancer. Even exposure to cigarette smoke (passive or secondhand) is also an established cause of lung cancer and is known to increase the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers as well. Preventing exposure to secondhand smoke can be helpful in decreasing the incidence and mortality from primary lung cancers. Above-mentioned apart, other important risk factors such as exposure to ionizing radiation, environmental carcinogens like smoke from burning black tar, exhaust gases from automobiles, outdoor air pollution, and occupational exposure to asbestos, arsenic, beryllium, nickel, cadmium, chromium etc all too are known to increase the risk for lung cancer and mortality thereof. In fact, cigarette smoking is known to potentiate the effect and hence the lung cancer risk of many of the above-mentioned carcinogens, multi-fold, in smokers. Thus, either eliminating or reducing the exposure to the above-mentioned carcinogens can lead to a decrease in the risk of lung cancer and incidences thereof. Furthermore, randomized clinical trials indicate that high intensity smokers (only) who take supplementation of beta-carotene have an increased risk/ incidence of lung cancer. Vitamin E supplementation, on the other hand, does not affect the risk of lung cancer as indicated by the trials. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor.
Hi, My wife is 35 years old. Her Mammogram report says BIRADS 2 for one side and 2/3 for another side. Did FNAC, report is atypical cells found, advice for frozen or excision biopsy for definitive opinion. Please advise. (20 years back she operated one lump in breast it was benign)
Sir actually my mother diagnosed with B- ALL and now she is admitted at cancer hospital at Jaipur under the guidance of Dr. She is in induction phase of chemotherapy (just got 15 days treatment) n in her csf report. There are some blast cell also. So I want a personal opinion from you sir. That what should I do.in such situation. In mid of treatment. please help me sir. I am also a doctor and I wan your help sir.
I am 23 male. I smoked for one and a half year. But quit it from last 2 months. But from last 20 days it is paining in the middle of the chest. What is it? Is it cancer or any? Please consult me, i'm very scared of it.
I am 62 year old. In the uterus 2nd stage cancer. I want to know, if I treat it with radiotherapy, can it remove permanently for lifelong.
Prostate cancer is a very painful disease to go through. However, what some people do not realize is that prostate cancer is equally disturbing from a psychological viewpoint, both for the patient and the family.
Here are some psychological impacts of prostate cancer:
- Shock, fear or anger: These are immediate reactions and you could feel any or all of these feelings when the disease is first reported to you. These feelings may continue for some time, but if the patient is unable to come out of the state of the anger for a long time, then he may need psychological help.
- Denial: Sometimes, you may feel well and deny the fact that you have prostate cancer or not realize you really do. Accept it! This is the first step to curing it.
- Frustration and disappointment: Try to avoid these types of feelings and if you do, then go to a shrink as well, as these are signs of depression.
- Stress: This is also a natural feeling and will haunt you till this disease is gone. However, there are many ways to help reduce it.
- Worrying: This is usually related to the side effects in the early stages of prostate cancer. Trust your doctor. Finding a support group or talking to people in similar conditions may help.
- Mood swings: This is one of the side effects of the hormone therapy used to treat prostate cancer. It may cause you to get angry and anxious and then tearful and depressed.
- Anxiety: Some men are overly worried about their prostate-specific antigen or PSA test results. The anxiety may continue even after the PSA test is over.
- Sense of loss: Hormone therapy causes many physical changes in your body, including weight gain, changes in your sex life as well as reduced physical strength. Few things will be the same after prostate cancer in all honesty. Talking to the people around you can help more than you know.
While prostate cancer can cause all sorts of negative emotions, it is crucial that you use your family to stay strong and do not slip into depression. There are also a few patients, who accept this diagnosis well, if properly counselled. In the majority of cases, prostate cancer grows slowly. In those cases, new drugs are available which help the patient lead a near normal life.