“For many, receiving a cancer diagnosis can be as devastating to the psyche as the cancer itself is to the body. Given how many of our lives have been affected, it’s hard to imagine that cancer was once so shamed,” said Allison Abrams, LCSW-R. “Awareness and advocacy have played and continue to play essential roles in prevention, early detection, and treatment advances.”
Among these treatment options are therapy alternatives that are gaining popularity. However, these can do more harm than good. In fact, cancer therapy alternatives increase the risk of mortality instead of helping with the treatment of the illness.
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) recently published a study stating that patients who opt for alternative therapies to treat curable and common types of cancer rather than going for doctor-recommended medical treatments raise their risk of fatality. Some of the conventional forms of therapeutic regimens include radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. On the other hand, alternative therapies are those unproven methods, usually executed by non-medical entities.
Often, the media would throw in every once in a while “success” stories of people with cancer who have taken the route of trusting their sickness to alternative therapies, either with or without conventional treatments. After all, it is every patient’s prerogative to choose their mode of treatment that they consider would provide more acceptable and promising outcomes. However, these people are usually not fully informed with a detailed cons list of choosing an alternative therapy for cancer treatment.
Media plays a significant role in providing not only foreseeable benefits but also the risks and consequences, whether complementary, conventional, or alternative treatments. Unfortunately, a lot of people are more inclined to opt for alternative regimens because online and media coverage do not divulge everything about the approach and most of the time, their overly excited way of broadcasting the positives of alternative management can be quite misleading.
Is Going Natural Better?
The most prominent selling point of alternative treatment advocates in dealing with not only testicular cancer but also all sorts of cancer, in general, is that their products or processes are all natural. More so, these advocates are actively claiming that if compared to what they’re offering, traditional medical therapies are harmful because of being toxic to the individual.
The truth is, a lot of conventional treatments given to cancer patients were initially derivatives of natural substances in the environment. One typical example is the chemotherapeutic drug that inhibits cancer growth known as Taxol, created from the elements found in the leaves of Pacific yew trees.
What is worrisome is how these advocates fail to emphasize if their natural or organic treatments are guaranteed safe. From these various alternative therapies, one could experience septicemia, cyanide poisoning, bowel irritation leading to intestinal damage, and permanent disfigurement.
Not Everything Is True
Just because you saw it broadcasted on the news about how one cancer patient has survived their illness merely by sticking with the alternative, it doesn’t mean that it’s entirely reliable. There are some hidden facts and negatives behind these stories. This, however, does not provide substantial scientific proof, nor do these alternative treatments guarantee that their way is safer and is way more efficient.
When selling something, words are always framed in a way that people would be convinced that it is positively beneficial despite the reality that every action has a counter-reaction.
Reports and advertisements online or in television usually provide misinformation about confusing medical terms and details whether or not it concerns the stage and type of cancer, the chances of surviving, and the failure to instigate that conventional therapies were utilized alongside or even before the patient has decided to go alternative.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Cancer is a disease that is formed with complexities. Without definitive access to confidential medical records, it is nearly impossible to accurately paint a picture of a person’s successful journey in defeating the illness. Best thing to do before jumping ship is to do comprehensive research regarding your preferred method of treatment and discuss it with your healthcare provider.
“You are likely not used to asking for help, love, and support. However, this is an opportunity to focus on you and to take better care of yourself. There are many online support groups that can be general or disease-specific. Ask your oncologist for local resources at your cancer center,” wrote Nicole Amoyal Pensak, PhD. Have another outlet if necessary. Consider speaking with a professional. www.betterhelp.com/start/ is an ideal place to vent to a certified psychiatrist on your preferred schedule.
Additionally, psychotherapy can help provide a safe space for cancer patients. Jana Bolduan Lomax, PsyD, said, “In these cases, the intervention is creating a space for people with different perspectives to feel safe to open up and come to terms with the reality of the situation and find ways to effectively communicate about feelings, fears, and hopes.”