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Checklist for Cancer Therapy

Very often, we receive email messages from CancerStory members and web surfers, sharing with us about certain products and cancer therapies that claimed to fight against cancer.

It is understandable that people living with cancer and their caregivers are constantly and anxiously looking for the "magic bullet" to wipe out cancer in order to save lives.

Sadly, there is no such "magic bullet" as yet. There are far too many complementary and alternative cancer methods. What works for one, may not necessarily work for others because every cancer patient's condition and experience is unique. Hence, it is important for cancer patients and their caregivers to educate themselves and evaluate the efficacy of each type of cancer methods in relation to the individual patient's state of health and cancer progression. Certainly this is no easy task for a layperson.

We reckon that it is beneficial for all people living with cancer and their caregivers to understand the development of cancer and characteristics of cancer cells in order to manage the disease knowledgeably. Please click on Understanding Cancer to read about it.

We have also drawn up the following checklist to serve as a useful guide to help cancer patients and their caregivers in the selection of an appropriate complementary cancer method.

  1. Is the method beneficial for your type of cancer?
  2. Is the method beneficial for your stage of cancer?
  3. Is the method affordable?
  4. Is the method scientifically proven?
  5. Does the method meet your purpose?
  6. Is the method readily available?
  7. Are you ready to accept the method?
  8. Is the method safe and effective?
Type of cancer

There are more than one hundred different types of cancer, affecting virtually every part of the body. Some are treatable whereas many are difficult to treat especially in the case of cancer in the advanced stages. There is no single cancer method that can treat all types of cancer. Therefore, if the method does not provide beneficial results for your type of cancer, you need not pursue further.

Stage of Cancer

It refers to the extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spread from the original site to other parts of the body. It is important to know the stage of the disease in order to plan the best treatment.

Patients in the early stage of cancer have a better chance of survival, whereas the prognosis for patients in the advanced stage of cancer is usually poor. Therefore if the cancer method is not beneficial for the stage of your cancer, you need not pursue it further.

The various stages for each of the following types of cancer have been extracted from the online dictionary of the National Cancer Institute, US and rearranged to facilitate easy reference. You may check your stage of cancer by clicking on this button.

Cost Consideration

Convention treatment alone is already very costly. Therefore you are advised to seek affordable complementary treatment without jeopardizing your financial ability to continue with conventional treatment. For example, many cancer patients cannot afford to consume expensive Chinese herbs like ginseng that helps to build up the body's immune system. Based on our understanding from many reputable Chinese Physicians, ginseng may not always be suitable for cancer patients and there are many other types of cheaper Chinese herbs which help to build up the body's immune system with equally good results.

In most instances, there are many other affordable complementary medicines that produce beneficial results as well. Therefore you must shop around to make a wiser choice.

Scientifically Proven Method

Most complementary and alternative medicines are not scientifically proven but one can still assess its reliability by learning from other cancer patients' experiences. In most instances, the vendors will provide testimonies. You must exercise your own judgment when deciding on the validity of these testimonies made by people whom you do not know personally. You can also find out more from credible books on cancer which usually document such methods.

Purpose of Method

Generally, most complementary medicines help cancer patients in the following aspects :

  • cope with the side-effects of conventional treatment

  • improve quality of life

  • prolong life

  • strengthen immune system

Rarely do they have the ability to cure cancer and prevent recurrence of cancer, especially in the case of cancer in late stage. However, there were cases where cancer patients manage to beat the odds and recover health through a variety of cancer treatment methods.

You must identify the beneficial effect of the method and check if it suits your purpose. If you are looking for a cure, it is unlikely that any method is a definite answer to it. One has to be realistic about the progression of cancer and should be suspicious if any cancer method claims to provide a cure especially for advanced stage of cancer. It is important to bear in mind that the "magic bullet" has not been found yet.

Availability of Method

Its availability and accessibility is of crucial importance as the quality of care and treatment protocol may be compromised if the method is practised outside the "originating or source" country. For example, if the product requires special storage, the quality may be compromised due to improper handling in the course of delivery from one country to another. In the case where the method involves treatment procedure, the skill and products may also be compromised since there is no control over the quality of care and treatment protocol.

Therefore, you must exercise your judgment in order to ensure that the method or product is of good and equal standard. In most instances, the method or product may be effective but it fails to deliver the beneficial results when they are compromised without your knowledge.

Readiness

You must believe in complementary cancer methods and live positively without worrying about its beneficial effects versus its costs. You must free yourself from stress and be ready to accept change in your lifestyle, diet and eating habits if necessary. Certain types of cancer methods such as going on organic food and juicing diet, will require you to forego your favourite food and change your eating habits. Therefore, if you are not ready for such changes, you need not exert pressure on yourself to accept the method. Again, there are many other cancer treatment methods which do not require you to make "sacrifices".

Though the causes of cancer are still being debated, each type of cancer may be caused by a variety of factors such as the following :

  • Environmental and industrial pollution
  • Improper diet and nutrition
  • Stressful lifestyle
  • Smoking

Therefore, it will be advisable for you to note the above possible causes and make necessary changes to avoid them.

Safety Concern

Before you embark on a complementary cancer method, it is advisable for you to inform your oncologists/doctors about your intention to do so. Usually, they will not give much comments unless they know with certainty that your proposed method will yield adverse results. Ideally, there should be a synergistic interaction between the chemotherapy drugs or radiation treatment and your proposed method.

By informing your doctors about your complementary method, you actually impose a responsibility on them to monitor your cancer progression and inform you to stop your method if it is not helping you.


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