Cancer is one of the most prevalent and virulent diseases that affect populations at all stages of a lifecycle.
It is majorly a lifestyle disease with several outlier causes such as genetics. It is a disease that encourages fear worldwide with a history of persistence till death (Bray et al, 1133-1145). Cancer is a behavioral deviation of growing cells, showing anomalies in their cell division, maturity and death; all of which affects neighboring cells and speeds up abnormal growth due to DNA destruction by free radicals (Godic et al, n.p).
Some hallmark characteristics of cancer include being self-sufficient in growth hormone, insensitive to anti growth hormones, evading apoptosis, its limitless replicative abilities, sustained angiogenesis and the ability to invade tissues and metastasis. Traditional treatment of cancer focuses on a medical based model approach with options for chemotherapy, radiation and drug therapy. An alternative to traditional medicine is holistic treatment options popular in eastern medicine that focuses on spiritual, physiological, sociocultural and psychological approaches to intervene disease state. For a holistic treatment, several things must be ensured including dietary, lifestyle and medical emphasis for the patient during and after therapy.Cancer can take the form of malignant tumors that includes abnormal cell differentiation (Martincorena & Peter, 1483-1489). To treat the disease, it has to be detected early enough (Guy et al, 183-187).
Since differentiation of cells can occur at any life stage of an individual, it is important to monitor risk factors for getting cancer as well as going to routine examinations to detect possible diseases early enough for treatment. The challenge of treating cancer is that it does not manifest with acute symptoms until it has fully taken ground in the body. It is significant information to utilize as it can take a long time to acknowledge symptoms of a disease state unless screening takes place (Guy et al, 183-187). Holistic treatment calls for a continuous check for the abnormal cell differentiation in order to indicate whether or not the person is at risk and to allow for early mediation. While treatment or removal of the diseased cells is important, a prevention of its migration to other parts of the body is critical as cancer cells have unregulated growth, invasion and ability to spread to neighboring cells. Secondly, treatment of cancer requires a dietary change, one that supports the removal or reversal of toxins in the body (Ruiz & Pedro, 202-208). Free radicals missing an electron will fill the gap by obtaining it from other cells which ultimately damages cellular structures. Holistic treatment options to destroy free radicals include an excess consumption of antioxidants to combat it.
Antioxidants like selenium, lycopene and vitamins A, C and E help the cell from damage by the radical, hence a deficiency of these antioxidants means a greater risk to the individual (Liu, 384S-392S). For holistic treatment of free radicals with antioxidants to be effective, the individual may seek out nutrition counseling from a dietitian that focuses on ways to obtain and consume foods rich in these elements. Such foods include fruits such as banana, red and white grapes, orange, tomato, apple, plums and strawberry and vegetables such as garlic, onion, broccoli, kales and spinach among others (Ruiz & Pedro, 202-208). Notable is the fact that most common radicals are carcinogens, elements that are activated into dangerous states by the phase I enzymes from the liver and which can be limited into safe levels by the presence of allyl sulfides, an antioxidant from garlic.
Vitamin C however prevents nitrates in the colon from transforming into carcinogens. Also, foods rich in fiber will help the free flow of waste from the colon and eliminate potential carcinogenic substances or toxins from the body. In order to fully counter the growth and spread of cancer, the diet of the person should be carefully selected and provided in a balanced amount.
Diet therapy is one of the most important components of cancer treatment; providing what the body needs to function and maintain immune defenses is critical in the plight of fighting cancer.During and after the treatment, the patient should completely discard drugs such as alcohol, khat and tobacco. They can trigger cancerous cell development through the release of free radicals into the body cells. Tobacco alone can cause cancer of the skin, mouth, lung, bladder, kidney and breast (Torrey et al, 87-108).
Alcohol can trigger cancer of the mouth, throat, liver, breast and colon (Bagnardi et al, 580-593). An individual should resume a healthy lifestyle that involves daily medium-level exercising and a healthy diet free from animal products and rich in fruits and vegetables (Thomson et al, 42-53). This ensures that their health and happiness is restored as well as their damaged tissues are replaced. The consumption of fruits and vegetables will assist with the destruction of free radicals due to a high content of antioxidants and fiber found in the same food choices will aid in digestive health and the removal of toxins from the body.
Another holistic dietary approach for the treatment of cancer has a shift of focus placed on mushrooms and their relation to immunotherapy. The author suggests that mushrooms are composed of a structure that is immunomodulatory as it has similarities to the proteoglycan structure and are both active in a metabolic sense. It is suggested that the proteoglycan may actually have a mushroom origin. The author references another study that indicates natural killer cells, an immunological response to cancer can double in quantity within eight weeks of treatment with the fungus found in mushroom, coriolus versicolor (Monro, 2003). An epidemiological study was conducted over the course of fifteen years that included 174,505 Japanese farmers that worked with this edible mushroom species. The results concluded a cancer death rate of 160.1 per 100,000 as opposed to 97.
1 per 100,000 among mushroom farmers. Farmers that worked closely and consumed these mushrooms more frequently appeared to have lower rates of cancer than farmers not working with the mushroom. More specific evidence for the same publication proves a 35% increase in the average cell count of killer cells in the human body following treatment with coriolus versicolor. Measurements of data surrounding the number of killer cells were taken both before and after treatment; the treatment consisted of six coriolus tablets for a total of fifteen days.
After the fifteen day period, patients were reduced to taking three tablets daily for a consecutive 45 days. The results of the study further proved the holistic dietary option for cancer treatment may be possible as evidenced by the progress of coriolus mushroom treatment on cancer. Ingesting the mushroom may serve as a preventative measure as well as after diagnosis as the increase in killer cells reduce the number of cancer cells within the body.Traditional approaches to later stages of cancer require surgery or chemotherapy, subject to the type and location of cancer in the body. Notably, chemotherapy has been an effective method for the treatment (Miller et al, 271-289). It involves the destruction of the malignant cells using medical approached to completely omit such cells from the body and prevent further spread of cancerous cells. Surgery involves a clinical operation to remove the affected cells, often lumps, from the body and to prevent them from infecting neighboring cells (Shapiro et al, 1090-1098). Individuals that do not see the medical model approach as fitting for their circumstances may opt for holistic treatment such as Traditional Chinese Medicine which includes acupuncture, herbal remedies for medicine and moxibustion.
In a clinical study published in the journal of ethnopharmacology, promising advances have been found in regards to the improvement of inadequate treatment response to chemotherapy, the reduction of adverse effects on health from traditional cancer treatment and lastly, a reduction in interactions between standard care and herbal medicines (Konkimalla & Efferth, 2007). Traditional Chinese Medicine may be an effective option for individuals that find difficulty coping with the adverse effects of traditional medical treatment for cancer.Holistic treatment of cancer calls for a multifaceted approach towards a holistic restoration of the body to normalcy. Dietary interventions are necessary to ensure repair of broken tissues and antioxidants as natural detoxifiers as well as resolutions to free radicals within the body. Certain foods such as specific strains of mushrooms have proved helpful in strengthening the bodies immune response to cancer.
Extensive research for cancer treating food items may reduce risks of cancer metastasizing and if done as a preventative measure, reduce the risk from getting cancer initially. Holistic medicine holds strong values in the body, mind and spirit connection; taking care of oneself through the consumption of beneficial herbs, meditation or relaxation techniques and routine physical exercise are the fundamental principles to an effective holistic approach to the treatment of cancer.