Originally published on innewsweekly.com
Doctors and patients alike face several unknowns with cancer, adding stress to an already stressful situation. Criticism of the pharmaceutical industries aside, the majority of the medical community is dedicated to helping patients navigate the cancer frontier with grace and dignity.
Dr. Kevin Dalby is one such individual. His research team is currently exploring targeted therapeutics to combat cancer as well as probing further into the mechanisms of cancer cell signaling. With aid from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) and the National Institutes of Health, he plans to build upon the decades of analysis and treatments that are at the forefront of cancer management.
That being said, a subset of patients express concerns regarding traditional therapies and consequently may favor alternative cancer treatments. Though a portion of these therapies has merit, sole use may incur adverse effects. In this article, Dr. Kevin Dalby helps remove the ambiguity surrounding these nostrums and explains why they’re most beneficial as complementary treatments.
Traditional Treatment Myths Debunked
When physicians first diagnose a patient with cancer, a thousand thoughts, and grim scenarios flash through the patient’s mind, and rightfully so. Diagnosis is life-changing and terrifying, but not without hope. The internet, as well as the media, often misconstrue factual information regarding cancer, but rest assured that patients will benefit from their oncologist’s tutelage.
Dependent on the type of cancer, a doctor will recommend a particular or series of therapies to eradicate the disease from the patient’s body. Tumors often require surgery. One of the myths surrounding surgical treatment to remove malignant cells is it will cause cancer to spread. The chance of this occurring is slim, and surgeons employ several techniques to contain cancer cells during biopsies and tumor removals.
One of the most effective tools doctors have to treat metastatic cancer is chemotherapy. While treatment is an arduous journey, several of the negative myths associated with chemotherapy pre-date modern methods. Awful side effects once accompanied chemotherapy, but medical advancement has drastically reduced its harmful effects. Although you may still lose your hair and experience some discomfort, these effects are not permanent.
Currently, scientific data does not support the claim that a positive attitude prevents or cures cancer. However, a positive mindset is instrumental in improving a patient’s quality of life during treatment. As a result, alternative remedies, if vetted and deemed safe by a medical professional and used in conjunction with conventional therapies, may provide patients with some relief of mind and body.
Two of the most common alternative therapies are herbal medicine and acupuncture. According to certain studies, herbs may help alleviate adverse side effects of traditional treatment, but there is no reputable research to support the claim that herbs can cure cancer. Acupuncture, when administered by a licensed practitioner, may help relieve nausea, a common reaction to chemotherapy. It may also help address physical pain, but again, does not play a direct role in killing cancerous cells.
Exercise caution when researching complementary and alternative therapies, especially those that claim to cure cancer. In general, it is critical to discuss your thoughts and needs with your doctor before making decisions regarding your care. If you have doubts about your treatment plan, seek a second opinion from a licensed medical professional. Remember, most doctors have your best interest at heart and are working vigorously to save the lives of cancer patients around the world.
Dr. Kevin Dalby is the director of The Targeted Therapeutic Drug Discovery & Development Program (TTP), and the principal investigator on a CPRIT core facility grant that gives Texas scientists access to resources for drug discovery research. By understanding cancer cell signaling, Dr. Dalby works to improve diagnoses and utilize technological advances to develop targeted pharmaceuticals for different cancers.