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    Ask This About the Top 3 Alternative Cancer Treatments

    While receiving standard medical care by a qualified physician for cancer is necessary, many people with cancer also seek out complementary or alternative cancer treatments to help deal with symptoms from the cancer and side effects from medications. The top three alternative cancer treatments include acupuncture, aromatherapy and herbal supplements or vitamins. While alternative cancer treatments are not approved by the FDA to be a treatment for cancer by themselves, these treatments can help aid patients who are dealing with treatment side effects or symptoms. However, all treatments, including alternative therapies, should be discussed with a doctor prior to use, as some may interfere with standard treatments. Keep reading to learn the top questions you should ask when talking to your doctor about the top three alternative cancer treatments. 

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    Are there any supplements or other treatments that may interfere with my current treatment plan?

    Before taking any supplements or undergoing any alternative therapies, always talk to your doctor about how alternative treatments may interact with your current treatment plan. Some supplements may interact poorly with common cancer medications or make them less effective.

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    Are alternative or complementary cancer treatments safe?

    While some alternative therapies have been proven safe, such as acupuncture and aromatherapy, some supplements and even high doses of certain vitamins can be harmful or interact poorly with your current treatment. Always talk to your doctor before starting any alternative cancer treatments. 

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    How can acupuncture help during my cancer treatment?

    Acupuncture has been shown in studies to help improve the immune system response during chemotherapy, as well as help relieve nausea and vomiting commonly associated with chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. Talk to your doctor about whether acupuncture might be a good option for you, and always be sure to go to a qualified acupuncturist for therapy. 

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    How will aromatherapy help during my cancer treatment?

    While aromatherapy does not help treat the cancer itself, the use of certain essential oils in aromatherapy has been shown to help relieve stress and anxiety to improve quality of life and help patients deal with cancer treatment more effectively.

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    What should I be aware of when considering vitamins or herbal supplements during cancer treatment?

    There are several herbal and other supplements on the market that claim to help fight cancer or lessen symptoms of cancer or treatment side effects, but you should always beware of any products making big claims of being a "miracle cure" for cancer. Keep in mind that supplements are not regulated by the FDA in the same way medications are, and are not always safe. Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, herbal remedies, or extra vitamins. 

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    How can alternative cancer treatments be an important part of my treatment plan?

    While alternative cancer treatments should never be used alone to treat your cancer, they can be very beneficial when used alongside traditional treatments from a doctor. Acupuncture, aromatherapy, Chinese medicine and even certain dietary supplements can help ease uncomfortable side effects, lessen stress and anxiety and help you more easily cope with traditional cancer treatments. Talk to your doctor to find out what types of alternative treatments might be right for you.

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    What should I do if my doctor does not agree with the use of alternative cancer treatments?

    First and foremost, you should always listen to your doctor's advice regarding treatment for cancer, even if it means foregoing an alternative treatment you were interested in. Your doctor has your best interests at heart and is the most qualified person to tell you whether an alternative treatment might interfere with your regular care. However, you should always ask your doctor for an explanation about why specific alternative treatments are not recommended.

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    Can I use multiple alternative cancer treatments at once?

    As long as you talk to your doctor about any and all alternative treatments you're considering and get your doctor's okay, multiple alternative treatments and therapies can usually be used at the same time. For example, patients undergoing chemotherapy may find acupuncture and aromatherapy both beneficial to their overall wellbeing.