Fortunately the number of expected cases of pancreatic cancer each year is not that high as compared to the other major cancers. Unfortunately, of an estimated 43,140 new cases in America alone, there will be 36,800 deaths. Conventional treatment options include surgery (this is rarely an option as tumors in the pancreas are not able to be detected until they are too large to be removed), chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy.
Whether curing the cancer is possible of not, alternative treatment methods for pancreatic cancer can be a great aid in relieving the symptoms of the disease while also strengthening the body and improving healing. Combining several alternative forms of medicine can potentially offer much for fighting against this serious illness.
Nutritional therapy as an alternative cancer treatment is basically a focus on diet with the aim of providing the body with what it needs to fight the cancer and to address the digestive issues that go along with pancreatic cancer (nausea, decreased appetite, fatigue, changes to weight and appetite, gas, pain, and constipation). As the pancreas is involved with the digestion of food and the absorption of nutrients, a tumor can lead to nutritional deficiencies. For this reason diet is so extremely important for pancreatic cancer patients.
There has been so much research over the past couple of decades connecting diet to chronic disease. Eliminating the heavy, difficult to digest, unnecessary red meats, all processed foods, and even dairy (except for yogurt), and embracing the fiber, antioxidant, nutrient, and enzyme-rich fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes is the foundation of disease prevention and treatment. Talk to your doctor about discussing your diet with a dietitian familiar with the needs of pancreatic cancer patients.
Naturopathic medicine also seeks to improve well-being so the body can cope with the cancer and the associated symptoms. A naturopathic doctor will offer recommendations for nutritional supplements, herbal medicine, and homeopathic remedies. They may suggest adding garlic, medicinal mushrooms, grape seed extract, coenzyme Q10, flaxseed oil, and sea greens to the diet. They may recommend herbs for digestive issues and for strengthening the immune system. Naturopathic medicine is based on communicating with and empowering the patient. A doctor will talk with a patient about personal needs and suggest other therapies to help with treatment.
Mind-body medicine may not seem powerful as there are no pills to swallow or expensive medical machines — there is only the mind and the body. It is in fact a remarkable treatment for pancreatic cancer treatments as mind-body therapies improve physical well-being via the connection with the mind. They can help with reducing stress and anxiety, increasing immune strength, and even reliving physical symptoms. Techniques include guided imagery, reiki, tai chi, and meditation.
What does acupuncture have to do with pancreatic cancer? This form of alternative medicine seeks to release energy blockages in the meridian system, or subtle energy pathway that runs throughout the body. It is based on the precept of total harmony equalling total health. This treatment can increase immune response, reduce pain, relieve stress, and increase overall well-being.
By using one or all of these pancreatic cancer alternative treatment options patients are given more of an opportunity to take their health and healing into their own hands. While it is highly recommended to use these therapies in addition to conventional treatment, their use in conjunction with radiation, chemo, or other regular treatments can turn a bleak trial of human life into a more meaningful experience.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America <https://www.cancercenter.com/pancreatic-cancer/nutritional-therapy.cfm
Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research <https://www.pancreatic.org/site/c.htJYJ8MPIwE/b.5050503/k.40C9/Pancreatic_Cancer_Facts.htm>
photo by: D Sharon Pruitt (CC/flickr) <https://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/3211022280/sizes/m/in/photostream/>