Not long ago, we touched on the dangers that alternative mesothelioma treatments can pose to the health and well being of mesothelioma patients. In that post, we looked back at one of the most notorious “miracle” cancer cures, Laetrile, which was popular in the US in the 1970s.
Alternative mesothelioma treatments that claim to cure cancer better than traditional medical interventions are hardly a thing of the past, however. A quick internet search can turn up dozens of websites offering natural cancer “cures.” In many cases, the people promoting these alternative mesothelioma treatments often rely on pseudo-science or no science at all to back up their claims.
Bad medicine can and does hurt mesothelioma patients. Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself.
The Lure of Alternative Mesothelioma Treatments
The appeal of alternative mesothelioma treatments is understandable. Who can blame a cancer patient with a terminal diagnosis for looking for hope anywhere it might be found? Your doctor has just told you that the best course is for you to undergo mesothelioma treatments that are, at times, harsh and painful: chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, perhaps immunotherapy. At the end of it all, your life expectancy is likely just a few years.
Perhaps, even worse, you got your mesothelioma diagnosis at a late stage and the most that conventional medicine can do for you is palliative care to reduce your symptoms and keep you free from pain while the disease runs its course. You or one of your family members might want to try something – anything –to overcome mesothelioma.
The Danger of Alternative Mesothelioma Treatments
A recent study crystallized everything that is wrong with alternative mesothelioma treatments – or quack treatments for any type of cancer. Shark cartilage has recently been touted as a natural anti-cancer treatment. The treatment is based on a myth that sharks don’t get cancer (but they do). This has created problems for both humans and sharks. According to the researchers, any cancer-blocking substances in shark cartilage are not in the crude extract found on the market.
The demand for shark cartilage led to a spike in shark fishing, critically reducing populations of this important member of the ocean ecosystem. At the same time, some cancer patients chose this useless “medicine” instead of legitimate and effective treatments.
In the age of the Internet and social media, it’s easier than ever for hucksters to promote alternative mesothelioma treatments. Many of these websites claim that conventional doctors are hiding the “truth” about cancer cures.
The reality is that if there were alternative mesothelioma treatments that really worked to cure mesothelioma, you would know about them. Researchers would have studied them and your doctor would recommend them.
The sham alternative mesothelioma treatments promoted on websites that want to sell you vitamins, supplements, or other types of “cancer cures” tell convincing stories. They hold up examples of one or two people who kicked cancer without standard treatments, just by following their regimen. Even if one or two people have miraculous survival stories, it’s hard to know whether the miracle cure was the reason.
The desire to believe in “miracle” cancer cures comes naturally. We humans are optimists. We don’t give up when confronted with seemingly impossible odds. This is part of our strength and our charm.
But when it comes to alternative mesothelioma treatments, this optimism can lead us in the wrong direction. Another example of a dangerous cancer myth is the belief that lowering your pH level can prevent or cure cancer. There are numerous websites pushing the idea that, by eating certain foods, you can make your blood more alkaline and less acidic, thus lowering your pH levels. The problem with this theory is that your blood has a very narrow acceptable range of pH (between 7.35 and 7.45). Your diet won’t affect this – and you wouldn’t want it to. If your blood pH is above or below normal, it probably means you are very sick. Some medical professionals feel that the foods in a low-acid diet, such as fresh vegetables and fruits and other unprocessed, whole foods, may reduce inflammation. Less inflammation is a good thing for cancer patients, but it isn’t a cure and it’s certainly no substitute for conventional treatment.
The healthier you are, the better your chances of surviving longer after a mesothelioma diagnosis. But low pH won’t cure mesothelioma, nor will eating a particular diet, nor thinking positive thoughts. Cannabis (aka marijuana) has been proven to be helpful in reducing the side effects of chemotherapy, but there is no evidence as yet that it has the power to reduce the size of a cancerous tumor.
3 Warning Signs of Deceptive Alternative Mesothelioma Treatments
Unscrupulous web sites promoting alternative mesothelioma treatments can be harmful. In addition to diverting you from legitimate treatments that could extend your life, they can drain your pocketbook, since these wonder cures won’t be covered by your insurance.
Here are 3 warning signs that alternative mesothelioma treatments may not be able to deliver on their claims:
- Big promises. There are plenty of ethical alternative medical practitioners who will offer supportive treatments to help your body stand up to cancer. None of them will claim that their treatment regimen will cure cancer, however. The bigger the promises, the more you should be suspicious. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Is the doctor really a doctor? If a miracle cure is promoted by a “doctor” do a little digging into his background. If he has a doctorate in something other than medicine (or no degree at all), he’s probably not your best source for medical advice.
- Pressure to buy. Some unscrupulous web-based businesses will pressure you to buy the products they sell – often vitamins, supplements, or diet plans that claim to cure cancer. If you don’t see results, they will tell you it’s because you haven’t used enough of their products and need to buy more. The greater the pressure to buy, the more suspicious you should be. A hard sell is often a cover for an empty promise.
A Smart Approach to Your Mesothelioma Treatment
Mesothelioma is a heartbreaking form of cancer. To date, there is no known cure. Researchers are developing better treatments, with fewer side effects and better outcomes, however, so there is hope. A few patients have had good results with new immunotherapy treatments, and researchers are working hard to find more and better mesothelioma therapies that use your body’s immune system to fight the cancer.
Many mesothelioma patients are able to enjoy time with the people they love and do the activities that make them happy. Some find that natural treatments such as massage, acupuncture, or homeopathy enhance their sense of well-being and help them cope with both the mesothelioma symptoms and the side effects of mesothelioma treatments.
A smart mesothelioma treatment plan is one that follows your doctor’s recommendations and adds any other alternative mesothelioma treatments that you find supportive. Stay away from the hucksters – some of their “natural” remedies can be toxic or harmful. Think of beneficial natural treatments as an add-on to conventional treatments and you can have the best that both conventional and alternative mesothelioma treatments can offer.