Lung Cancer Treatments

A diagnosis of lung cancer is devastating, but alternative lung cancer treatment, along with traditional therapies, can contribute to a positive outcome for patients. The goal of effective remedies -- whether alternative or conventional -- is to eradicate, arrest and slow the growth of malignant cells before they spread, or metastasize. As with most types of malignancies, early detection increases the likelihood of survival.

Once diagnosed, physicians and oncologists can prescribe appropriate healthcare based on the classification of the stage of the disease and its progression at detection, and the age and overall health of the patient. Early-stage lung cancer (stage 0-2) is usually confined to the site. Treatment options include surgical removal of the malignant mass with a portion of surrounding tissue, removal of the affected lobe, or removal of the entire lung. Patients may undergo radiation therapy following surgery to ensure that malignant cells in the surrounding tissue are destroyed. The 5-year survival rate for stage 1 surgery patients is 50%, provided that there has been no spread of malignant cells through the bloodstream to other sites. Stage 3 lung cancer treatments may include radiation therapy to reduce tumors, followed by chemotherapy. Combining these two therapies ensures greater patient outcomes. Once a patient has advanced to Stage 4, malignant cells have metastasized. Traditional lung cancer treatment becomes more difficult and is limited to chemotherapy only, as it has the ability to reach areas throughout the body. Alternative lung cancer treatments may provide a more viable option.

Although mainstream therapies can be effective, there are adverse side effects. Patients undergoing chemotherapy receive intravenous or oral "cocktails" of potent chemicals which are highly effective in shrinking tumors. However the procedure also kills healthy cells and leaves the patient feeling nauseous, weak, and fatigued. Side effects also include loss of appetite, a weakened immune system, and hair loss -- devastating to female patients. Radiation therapy, especially when administered to the head and neck area, may cause dry mouth and difficulty swallowing, which adversely affect the patient's ability to eat properly. The inability to eat, coupled with a loss of appetite, can deplete the body's energy reserves and place the patient at an even greater risk of negative outcomes. Lung cancer treatments can also be emotionally and mentally stressful, as patients experience anxiety about their disease, financial worries regarding medical bills, and insecurity about the future. Hospital social workers can help alleviate some of the stress, as oncologists, radiologists and physicians strive to provide the most appropriate care for each patient.

To reduce the side effects of conventional therapies, alternative lung cancer treatments are often employed which address the physical, emotional, and spiritual issues cancer patients face and offer a more holistic approach. Qualified alternative medicine practitioners can work with the patient's oncologist to devise individually prescribed treatment, which includes mind/body education, low-impact exercise, nutrition, and emotional support. Participating in an individualized exercise program helps strengthen muscles and an immune system weakened by chemotherapy, while boosting energy levels. Alternative lung cancer treatment may also include prayer and meditating on healing scriptures, music and art therapy, and journaling -- all means of getting the patient to relax, rejuvenate and think about something other than their disease. Patients may also join support groups which foster a communal environment whereby they may share experiences with others who are undergoing similar health crises.

As part of alternative lung cancer treatment, practitioners may recommend a 60% plant-based diet of fresh vegetables and fruit. Vitamins and enzymes found in raw, steamed, and unprocessed fruits and vegetables "jumpstarts" the body's natural defenses against disease. The human body is a remarkable creation that has the ability to heal itself -- sometimes with medical intervention -- when given the proper nutrients, along with mental, emotional, and spiritual support. Psalm 103:2-5 says, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things: so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles."

Researchers have discovered that there is a direct correlation between malignant cell viability and the food we consume. In order to develop, thrive and grow, mutant cells require certain nutrients -- amino acids, carbohydrates and glucose. Studies found that these cells also derive most of their energy from the metabolism of glucose. By prescribing a food plan which eliminates these nutrients, physicians can literally starve and deprive malignant cells, slowing their growth. Alternative lung cancer treatment may include replacing proteins normally found in meats, dairy, fish, and legumes with plant-based proteins, such as whey, soy and yogurt -- depending upon the stage of the patient's disease. Foods rich in antioxidants, such as green or black teas, tomatoes, and leafy greens are also helpful. Findings indicate that citrus acid, found in citrus fruit and orange juice, impedes the metabolism of glucose, robbing cancer cells of their energy supply and causing their death. While a low-fat, low-carbohydrate, plant-based diet has been proven effective, patients are strongly advised to consult with their physicians and oncologists to determine if this type of protocol is a suitable option, or whether it may be utilized in conjunction with conventional therapies.

When faced with a diagnosis of lung cancer, traditional and alternative treatment options, along with a positive mental and spiritual outlook may be just the arsenal patients need to effectively fight and win the battle against an insidious disease. Patients should seek the advice of professional oncologists, certified alternative medicine practitioners, close family members, and clergy to best decide how to treat and cope with a diagnosis of lung cancer.

Emphysema treatment should begin with the patient choosing to stop smoking and will usually include medications that will help especially in relieving pain that is associated with the disease. Another solution, though less popular, is surgery. In some cases, surgery is the best option. Emphysema can be very painful and scary for an individual to face. Leaning on God for guidance and strength in this situation is the best way to make it through. "But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works." (Psalm 73:28)

Several surgical procedures can be performed as part of the treatment for emphysema. One surgical procedure involves a part of the lung being stapled allowing the healthy part of the lung to maintain the flow of oxygen. Sometimes, when very little can be done, a lung transplant is the only available option that will offer a viable treatment for emphysema to the patient. This surgery is much more risky for the patient and is not often used, but it can be successful in extreme cases. Transplant surgery is not a very common occurrence and all types of organ transplanting are very difficult and grueling on both doctors and the patients involved.

The major cause of emphysema in individuals is cigarette smoke. While pollutants and other factors can sometimes be to blame, patients are usually heavy smokers. Immediately upon diagnosis and before treatment for emphysema commences, individuals should stop smoking altogether. While this may not be very easy to the individual, as the smoking is probably an addiction or bad habit, it can make breathing somewhat easier. Patients undergoing emphysema treatment and the pain of the disease must be very conscious of what cigarette smoke can do to harm their body, especially as the disease progresses. Many medications are used in recovery programs.

Muscle relaxants are often used to relax the muscles that are in close proximity to airways. These medications are often the same types that are used for people suffering from asthma. Another medication used is an anti-inflammatory. As the name suggests, this type of medication serves to reduce inflammation in the airways, relieving pain. A patient should stop smoking before any form of emphysema treatment is sought. Cigarette smoke has been shown to be one of the major causes, making it crucial for the patient to stop before the recovery process begins. After the patient is no longer smoking, treatment for emphysema can begin using medications to relieve pain and inflammation.

Chemotherapy Cancer Treatment

Chemotherapy cancer treatment works to destroy cancer cells through the use of chemicals but those chemicals do not know the difference between abnormal and healthy cells. The healthy cells that are normally affected include those in the stomach, hair, and blood. This can explain some of the side effects that are associated with the therapy; hair loss, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Other chemotherapy side effects are dry mouth, mouth sores, bleeding, increase in infections, loss of appetite, nerve damage, and damage to vital organs. Most symptoms subside when therapy is stopped. However, there is a possibility of long term damage from treatment such as organ damage and nerve damage. There are some things that a person can do that may help with side effects; eating small meals can help with digestive distress and nausea, avoid fried foods, drink lots of fluids, rest frequently, and medicate on God's word. Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life" (Proverbs 13:12).

Damaged DNA can lead to the accumulation of abnormal or damaged cells. When the immune system is working properly it will detect abnormal cells and destroy them. However, if the immune system does not work properly then a tumor can be the result. In some cases tumors can be benign but when they are malignant then cancer is the result. The most common methods of treating cancer include chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and surgery. All of the methods have risks and side effects but chemotherapy side effects are probably the most uncomfortable. However, when treating the disease after it has spread, chemo has the highest success rate of any method used.

The success of treatment will depend upon the type of cancer, the stage it is in, the health of the patient, and the methods of treatment used. Chemotherapy cancer treatment is either administered intravenously, orally, or injected straight into a specific area of the body. The drugs used will greatly depend upon the type of cancer, the stage of advancement, and the patient's overall health. The frequency a person may receive the chemo drugs may either be daily, weekly, or monthly. One thing that may cause some changes in treatment includes the effects on a patient's white blood cell count. A very low white blood count means that the patient has an increased risk of infection. When the white blood count is too low the doctor may discontinue treatment until the count rises.

Anti-nausea medications are often prescribed for individuals who are suffering with nausea and vomiting. A person suffering with severe nausea and vomiting should consult his or her doctor to find out about other options. Sometimes the dosage amounts can be reduced of the chemical drugs and this may help to relieve the nausea. Chemotherapy cancer treatment includes many types of drugs. If one drug makes a person sick then another one can be tried. Severe bouts of nausea and vomiting can cause dehydration and severe fatigue so this is a side effect that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Hormone levels can be affected during cancer treatment therapy. When hormone levels are affected then a patient may experience more severe chemotherapy side effects. The uncomfortable side effects may not be as bad for some as they are for others. Normally when a doctor uses chemo he or she will also use immunotherapy drugs that help to build up the patient's immune system. Immunotherapy helps to stimulate a person's immune system so that it can better fight against tumor growth. Certain types of drugs used in immunotherapy seem to slow tumor growth. Immunotherapy along with a healthy diet and exercise will help to boost the immune system and give greater results overall.

A healthy diet should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating more fiber will help the body to function better especially the digestive system. Fiber helps to counter constipation and can have a positive effect on blood sugar levels and puts a person at a lower risk for developing heart disease. Chemotherapy cancer treatment will respond better to a patient who does not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol beverages. Another important dietary change is to limit the amount of commercially processed foods. Processed foods are often devoid of their nutrients and cancer patients need all the nutrients that they can get.

Exercising may be one of the most difficult things to maintain during treatment for cancer. However, if a person will take it slow and not overdo then he or she will be better able to hold up at a daily exercise plan. Start out slow and build up to 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day. There will be days when chemotherapy side effects will be so bad that a patient may not be able to exercise and this is alright. The main thing is to keep trying and not to give up. Even a little bit of exercise will help the immune system to function better and overall will have a positive effect on treatment.

Many patients suffer with fatigue during chemotherapy cancer treatment. The amount of fatigue a person will experience will depend upon the aggressiveness of chemo and the overall health of the patient. If there are other health conditions present then fatigue can take a toll making it difficult for the patient to do daily activities. One of the things that a doctor will usually check for is the development of anemia. Having anemia can make a difference on the patient's fatigue level. The anemia can be treated with iron supplements and this will help some. The most important thing with taking chemical drugs is to listen to the doctor and take medications exactly as prescribed and communicate with him or her about all symptoms so that they can be addressed promptly.

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