Alternative medicine is not a new concept. It dates back thousands of years and can be found in just about every culture you can imagine. Even Hippocrates, considered to be the father of medicine, was said to have used herbs in his medical practice. With the growing number of side effects associated with traditional pharmaceutical medications, it is no surprise that patients with basal skin cancer, squamous cell carcinomas, and melanoma, are now considering trying different alternative skin cancer treatments in a bid to seek hope.
The Echinacea plant. Alternative skin cancer treatments such as echinacea help boost the immune system, but can also cause severe allergic reactions
Most natural skin cancer treatments revolve around the use of medicinal herbs. These may be applied to the skin or taken internally. Of all the alternative treatments, herbal medicine is the most widely studied by the scientific community.
Please note, I write this page purely for an insight into alternative medicine research and do not endorse any treatments or findings. If you are looking for an alternative treatment, please make sure you see a medically trained practitioner who will assess your case and advise you accordingly. Also make sure you divulge any treatments to your oncologist so they are aware.
Here is just some of the information on alternative skin cancer treatments that has been going on behind the scenes in the last few years…
For information on current alternative skin cancer treatments, click Here
Turmeric, commonly used in Indian cuisine, has been studied extensively for its uses with cancer patients. The majority of these studies have been on a component of turmeric called curcumin, the compound which gives it the distinctive color. In a study published in Melanoma Research in October 2007, New Jersey researchers found that curcumin selectively inhibited the growth of melanoma by inducing apoptosis, or cell death, leaving non-cancerous cells untouched. They concluded that the results of their in vitro study supported the investigation of curcumin for melanoma in vivo, or with live test subjects.
In March 2009, researchers at Florida A&M; University screened 374 natural extracts for tumoricidal properties. Their findings, published in Phytotherapy Research, indicated that extracts of wild yam root, teasel root, bloodroot, bakuchi seed, kanta kari, garcinia fruit, mace, dichroa root, dragons blood, frankincense and myrrh gum, and balm of gilead bud, all had tumor killing properties. Many of these herbs are currently being recommended as alternative skin cancer treatments by natural health practitioners.
Herbs should definetely be used with caution. Because herbs are plants, they have the potential to provoke an allergic reaction in those with allergies. For instance, a clinical report documenting adverse reactions to certain ‘alternative’ drugs was presented to the Australian Adverse Drug Reactions Advisory Committee in 2002. The report highlighted a problem with echinacea, advising that some people experienced severe allergic reactions including asthma attacks, full body rashes, and symptoms of anaphalactic shock which had the potential to be fatal.
Herbs may also increase or decrease the effects of other medications; when used in combination with the chemotherapy medication Paclitaxel, curcumin possibly increases the effectiveness of the treatment while reducing side effects. However, some herbs work in more ways than desired. Licorice can be used as an antiviral and antioxidant, but should not be used by those with hypertension because it can raise blood pressure.
Researchers have not identified a maximum dosage for herbs. Many of the ones that have been studied showed little or no side effects even at high dosages. It is vital to proceed with caution and seek medical advice.
Alternative skin cancer treatments definetely are not for everyone. In some cases, patients may choose to combine natural and traditional treatments. Whether using alternative treatments alone or in combination with traditional treatments, patients should do so only under the supervision of a doctor with substancial knowledge of natural medicine.