Experts expect up to 2 million cancer cases in the US this year alone, with over 600,000 fatalities at minimum. These figures not only spell gloom and doom for the patients but also shed light on how existing medical treatments seem inadequate in tackling this dreadful disease.
Today, chemotherapy is becoming notorious for harsh side effects, and radiation therapy is increasingly being associated with the recurrence of cancer. Naturally, patients and caregivers are left wondering whether there are alternative treatments for cancer other than chemo.
Modern Cancer Treatments Besides Chemo (And their Risks!)
Although there are alternative cancer treatments that work, modern medicine has conveniently steered clear of these therapies. But before we get into why these alternatives elude mainstream medicine, let’s take at some non-chemo treatments of cancer that mainstream medicine may use today and what dangers they pose.
Immunotherapy entered the cancer-treatment scene in the late 80s through FDA approval and experienced wider use over the following decades. Believed to ‘boost’ the patient’s existing immune system, it’s normally used as a supplementary treatment to chemo in many cases today.
The immune system is known to identify and eliminate abnormal cells that naturally develop in our bodies. So, even in its normal functioning, it prevents cancer from manifesting in its lethal forms. When cancer already exists in the body, immunotherapy attempts to ‘enhance’ this natural process by boosting T-cells or administering antibodies/vaccines to aid the process.
How Immunotherapy Can Fail and Risks Involved
Immunotherapy fails when cancer cells:
· develop genetic features that avoid detection
· generate proteins that repel immune cells
· modify the cells surrounding the tumor to avoid destruction by immune cells
Even before immunotherapy encounters failure, the patient can develop a variety of side effects that can weaken, exhaust, and wear out the body. These unpleasant effects include but aren’t limited to, soreness, pain, nausea, fatigue, abnormal blood pressure, palpitations, infections, inflammation, etc.
Modern medicine accepts immunotherapy as part of the strategy where chemo serves as the primary approach to cancer. However, its multiple downsides and risks imply that there is indeed a greater need for alternative cancer treatments that work without compromising the cure.
Similar to radiation therapy, this method of treating cancer also utilizes targeted light rays to try and eliminate cancer cells. For this process to work, doctors will first administer a photosensitizing drug to the patient. This is done orally, topically, or through a vein in the body.
When the cancer cells stick to or absorb this drug, the light rays targeted at the drugs can destroy the cells. Given the complicated process it undergoes, photodynamic therapy isn’t nearly as successful as doctors would like it to be.
Limitations and Side-effects of Photodynamic Therapy
The obvious limitation of photodynamic therapy is that it can merely try and attack cells that are close enough for light rays to reach. This means the treatment is restricted to the outer skin, tissues under it, or organ linings that light rays can reach.
Even the FDA has approved it only for treating specific conditions like Barrett’s esophagus or Basal Cell Skin Cancer. This limiting feature makes it applicable only in specific cancer cases, and that too with no guarantee of success.
Side effects from photodynamic therapy can be both immediate or appear later on in life. Pustular formations, pain, dermatitis, edema, burns, etc., are just a handful of unpleasant conditions patients can develop.
Photodynamic therapy requires a lot of resources, technology, and effort to even execute and still expose the patient to appalling side effects without any improvement in metastasis. Any effective alternative to chemotherapy should be one that’s accessible to all (not just the rich) and should have a success rate that’s worth the effort.
Targeted therapy is the general term given to a number of treatments where doctors attempt to deal with specific proteins that influence the way cancer cells to behave. For it to work, doctors will use a variety of precision medicines hoping to treat the cancer through these proteins.
One variety of precision meds comes in the form of small-molecule drugs. These are drugs that are tiny enough to treat problems lying inside the cells. Other times, doctors may prescribe monoclonal antibodies. These are artificially created proteins that serve as antibodies and work similarly to how vaccines try to stop infected cells in the body.
While some monoclonal antibodies aid the immune system, others limit the growth of the cancerous cells. Some variants will try and go so far as to destroy the cancerous cells altogether.
Targeted Therapy’s Drawbacks and Downsides
To start off, targeted therapy relies excessively on biomarkers, which can often return inaccurate results. In such unfortunate cases, patients may end up undergoing a lot of discomfort and expenses only to learn later that the process did not work.
Even in partially successful cases, this therapy may inhibit the cancer growth or cause temporary remission. However, the danger of recurrence is rarely truly gone.
Regardless of whether it works, the patient will likely develop volatile blood pressure, sores in the mouth, problems with their skin, and even stunted healing. For a treatment that is not 100% assured of success, these are serious conditions to carry as the patient’s condition worsens.
Reliable and alternative treatments for cancer other than chemo should offer more hope for survival and less risk of debilitating side effects.
The fantastic news is that we now have access to unconventional cancer remedies that, if used correctly, may substitute or even replace grueling treatments like chemo.
Finding alternative cancer treatments that work can be tough because mainstream medicine will hardly publicize it. That’s mostly because giant pharmaceutical suppliers and manufacturers often have large stakes in putting forward a specific treatment or medication.
So, how do you escape this modern maze of invasive treatments? The most advisable approach is to remain open to alternative treatments for cancer other than chemo. Very often, these treatments bring together a more organic, natural, and comprehensive set of remedies that work together to boost the patient’s resilience, attack the cancer cells, and push the body towards a full, fair, and fruitful recovery.