Cancer: Treatments & Home Remedies

by Kiran Patil last updated -

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There are many treatments that one can undergo to cure cancer, which include surgery, stem cell transplant, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and more. These treatments usually vary on the basis of the stage. Cancer is a disease characterized by the presence of continuously dividing cells. Initially localized at a point called a tumor, these cells later distribute throughout the body via the blood or lymphatic system, and eventually result in death. These cells appear as lumps, which, if not detected at its early stages, might lead to a tumor.

Certain home remedies exist that aim at preventing it, while several others focus on stimulating the activities of the immune system. There are also certain kinds of foods that are beneficial when taken by patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These include consumption of broccoli, grapes, ginseng, myrrh, green tea, aloe vera, lycopene, maitake mushroom, soybeans, and wheatgrass.

Treatments for Cancer

There are various treatments for cancer. Let us discuss them all in detail below.

Radiation Therapy

In this therapy, cancer cells are directly targeted through high doses of radiation. It cures the disease by shrinking the tumor and killing the cancerous cells. However, there are many side-effects of radiation therapy, which include fatigue, hair loss, changes in skin, nausea, vomiting, etc. Radiation therapy is almost always accompanied by other treatments for the same.

Chemotherapy

Drugs are administered inside the body for this treatment. These drugs may be effective in reducing tumor size and destroying cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given through oral, intravenous, intrathecal, topical, intra-arterial, or intraperitoneal means. It is usually performed in cycles; after one week of chemotherapy, you get a break of three weeks. Chemotherapy too has many side effects, these include loss of hair and appetite, difficulty in eating, nausea, etc. and for which treatment is also given.

Surgery

Surgeries are often used to remove the cancerous tumor from the patient’s body. There are different types of surgeries that are used to rid this disease, which involves anesthesia, scalpels, and other sharp tools to cut through the different body parts and reach the tumor. Other surgeries, where the surgeons are not required to cut, include cryosurgery, lasers, hyperthermia, and photodynamic therapy. They involve the risk of infection and pain.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy treatment helps the immune system fight cancer cells. It makes use of living organisms to treat cancer. Monoclonal antibodies, adoptive cell transfer, cytokines, treatment vaccines, and Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) are all different types of immunotherapy treatments. It can cause side-effects like pain, swelling, soreness, redness, itchiness, and rashes.

Hormone therapy

This treatment targets at stopping or slowing down the growth of hormones that cause cancer. They can be given orally, through injections or via surgeries. Side effects may include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, fatigue, a lower sexual appetite, etc. Dr. Jacinta Abraham, a consultant clinical oncologist at Velindre NHS Trust, Cardiff, UK, has stated in a report published in The American Journal of Medicine that hormone therapy is an extremely effective and comparatively non-toxic therapy for both breast and prostate cancer while some other cancers showcase minor levels of hormone sensitivity.

Other treatments include the use of precision medicine, targeted therapy, etc. Most of the above treatments are used in combination with two or more treatments for effective results. Though not directly curable, cancer can be prevented by certain precautionary measures and a balanced lifestyle. Once it has begun, it can be slowed down or put into dormancy, but can never be completely eliminated. By eating healthy and nutritious food, you can ward off incoming pathogens and activate the immune system to fight against the cancerous cells. An additional dietary regime is to be followed as the patient undergoes chemical or radiation therapy as it tends to show various side effects like hair loss and nausea.

Home Remedies for Cancer

There are a number of effective and natural home remedies for cancer including:

Broccoli

Broccoli has been found to be beneficial in treating certain kinds of colorectal cancers. It should be taken in the form of sprouts. Broccoli contains certain phytochemicals that have the ability to fight cancer cells, but the exact compound has yet not been identified. These phytochemicals act as antioxidants and contain enzymes that aid in the detoxification of the body.

Grapes

Grapes contain a compound called proanthocyanidins that reduce the body’s estrogen production. This leads to the effective treatment of lung, prostate, colon, and breast cancer.

Ginseng

Ginseng helps in building resistance and fights off infectious agents that seek to damage the body.

Myrrh

Myrrh is a herb with many anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal qualities. It is a good home remedy for the treatment of all kinds of cancer.

Green Tea

Prepare herbal green tea by boiling some leaves in a glass of water until the volume is reduced by half. This has anti-inflammatory properties and is very effective against breast, prostate, liver, pancreatic, and skin cancer.

Soybeans

Soybeans contain phytoestrogens and several other entities that block cancerous cells from using estrogen. It also contains isoflavones that are needed for the prevention of cancer in its early stages. It can be taken either as sprouts or as cooked vegetables and demonstrates positive prevention against breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancer.

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Low-carb Diet

Home remedies for cancer also include the intake of a low-carb diet. Findings of a recent study suggest that the intake of a low-carb diet may reduce the risk of colon cancer. Another research suggests that a low-calorie diet may slow down the spread of breast cancer and a diet rich in dairy products may slightly extend lives of people diagnosed with colon cancer.

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass taken in the form of juice or in its raw form is shown to retard the growth of cancer cells as demonstrated by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. It has the ability to enhance the immune system and gets rid of toxins and waste products.

Juices & Soups

It is an established fact that juices are rich sources of vitamins and nutrients. Freshly obtained juice from fruits like apples, bananas, mangoes, and cherries should be given to cancer patients on a regular basis. This aids in boosting the immune system of the individual, making them strong enough to fight the incoming pathogens. It is good to have cucumbers, carrots, bananas, corn, spinach, and peas even if you are already suffering from cancer. These can be consumed in soups, which are very nutritious.

Aloe Vera

This herb can be consumed raw, in the form of juice or jelly. It is effective against both prostate and lung cancer.

Lycopene

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, lycopene is found in abundant quantities in tomatoes, guava, papayas, grapes, apricots, and watermelon. These antioxidant compounds are even more effective than carotenoids in the removal of free radicals that stimulate cell division. Lycopene is effective in the treatment of prostate, lung, and stomach cancer.

Maitake Mushroom

As per the PDR Health, maitake or “dancing mushrooms” are good for the alternative treatment of cancer. They are known to increase the efficacy of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. They also reduce the side effects of these therapies by preventing hair loss and nausea. They can be consumed raw or grilled as cooking will absorb a lot of the beneficial oils that they contain.

Exercise

Research suggests that exercising an hour daily reduces the risk of contracting breast cancer in women of any age or any weight. According to Michigan State University researcher Sheila Hebert’s 2014 report, products like spin bikes are quite useful for getting quick and easy exercise at home.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is known for its health benefits. It also reduces the risk of cancer. A research report in the US Library of Medicine suggests that hydroxytyrosol, a major component of olive oil, may help prevent breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

Protein, Fat & Fiber

According to a recent study, intake of vegetable protein, vegetable fat, dietary fiber, and nuts during adolescence may help to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Cancer patients are also advised to have lentils or sprouts as they are rich in protein.

Things to Avoid

A research report published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition lists foods to be avoided to reduce the risk of cancer. It is also advised to avoid the intake of processed and red meat:

Processed and red meat: Cut down on hot dogs, beef, lamb, and pork as they contain a high amount of saturated fats. Eating fewer quantities of red meat would reduce the risk of prostate and colon cancer as well.

Tobacco: Smoking causes cancer in the lungs, mouth, throat, larynx, pancreas, bladder, cervix, and kidneys. Avoiding tobacco altogether is the best health decision you’ll ever take. Adopt various strategies with the help of your doctor to discard tobacco from your life completely.

Sugar and high glycemic index food products: These food products contain very high calories, which can result in obesity. Thus, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to keep your weight under check. Failing to do so can lead to many health complications, in the long run, one of which can be cancer.

Psychological stress: People feel that they are under mental, physical and emotional pressure from time to time. It is said that those who experience stress frequently over a long period of time, may develop serious health conditions. Well, psychological stress and cancer can be linked in numerous ways, for instance when people undergo stress they take to bad habits such as over-consumption of food, alcoholism or smoking, all of which can increase a person’s risk for cancer. Those whose family members had/have cancer are more prone to contracting this disease due to a shared inherited risk factor. Thus, they need to be more careful.

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