Complementary and alternative treatment (CAM)


When he got 76-year-old Maureen Peltier chemotherapy for its advanced stage ovarian cancer a few years ago, he found that guided imagery helped him cope with the unpleasant side effects of treatment. “Whenever I felt nauseous or exhausted, I would close my eyes and visualize the drugs like little smart bombs traveling around my body to find me and kill them cancer says Peltier, a retired Houston lawyer.

It’s a strategy she’s returned to, as long as she feels anxious or not sure the cancer will return. At times, she imagines an army of women soldiers traversing her body attacking lost cancer cells. Other times he imagines the water swirling through his veins and removing toxins. Today, she attributes these exercises to help her better treat her illness.

“While it hasn’t been, it has helped me maintain a positive attitude because it has made me feel like I have some control over the process,” he says. “It has given me confidence that I can handle anything, even the unknown.”


Research suggests that at least half of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer resort to complementary therapies. These can be herbs, supplements, relaxation techniques such as meditation or guided imagery, or strategies such as acupuncture or massage.

Oncologists once ruled out these complementary therapies as charcoal treatments. Today, most doctors recognize that they can play a valuable role in treatment, says Rachel Grisham, MD, in medical oncologist specializing in ovarian cancer at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The key, he emphasizes, is for people to work closely with theirs health care equipment to ensure that the therapies they use do not interfere with medical treatments such as chemotherapy.

“They can be very beneficial in combating the side effects of cancer, such as fatigue, anxiety i pain“Says Larissa Meyer, MD, associate professor of gynecologic oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.” They can also help relieve Stress, which we know can be a driver of cancer growth. “

Usual alternative therapies

Acupuncture. With this technique, an acupuncturist inserts fine needles at certain points of pressure in the body. It can help you side effects of chemotherapy as nausea, fatigue, and numbness in the hands and feet, Meyer says. There has not been much research on this topic, but a small study found this to be true. “I believe in it a lot, even though we still don’t quite understand how it works,” he says.


Dietary supplements. Meyer does not recommend taking any supplement during chemotherapy without consulting your doctor, as it may interfere with treatment. Even after you have finished chemotherapy, we recommend that you always talk to your oncologist to make sure a supplement is safe. If yours cancer center has an integrative medicine clinic, also talk to someone. Some of the supplements you can listen to include:

  • Quercetin. This substance is found naturally fruits and vegetables as apples, onions, red grapes, cherries, raspberries and citrus fruits. It is also found in black and green tea. There are some data that show that it can slow the growth of the tumor.
  • Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi. Laboratory studies have shown that this Chinese herb can limit the growth of cancer cells, including ovarian cancer uns.
  • Wheat germ extract. This supplement was developed by a Hungarian chemist in the 1990s. Not to be confused with wheat germ oil. It can help certain chemotherapy drugs better treat ovarian cancer.
  • Vitamin D. The sun’s vitamin has been promoted to prevent certain cancers, including ovarian cancer. But a review of 17 studies published in 2020 found that there is no evidence that reduces your chances of getting ovarian cancer or gives you a better chance of survival.
  • Turmeric. This spice contains curcumin, a potent antioxidant. Laboratory studies show that it may have anticancer properties, but other studies have shown that it can interfere with some chemotherapy drugs.


Yoga i Tai chi. These relaxation-based movement therapies can help you better tolerate treatment. One study found that women who did only 15 minutes yoga the session prior to chemotherapy treatment reported less anxiety and felt more relaxed. Another study on women with ovaries or Lung cancer it was found that 10 weekly yoga classes lowered the levels of fatigue, depressionand anxiety in patients.

Relaxation exercises. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or guided imagery can help relieve stress caused by ovarian cancer. They can also help you better manage treatment, Grisham says. “I often advise patients to use this type of exercise to help them relax while waiting for chemotherapy treatments or the results of an imaging test or scan, ”he says. Some to try include:

  • Belly breathing. Breathe hard enough to feel your belly expand and then hold it for a few seconds. Exhale slowly. Repeat several times.
  • Mantra meditation. This form of meditation makes you focus on a word or sound, also called a mantra, such as “peace” or “love“Don’t worry if your mind wanders. Return it gently to the present moment. The goal is to relax the mind, so that it stays in the present instead of jumping from worry to worry.
  • Guided images. As you breathe in your belly, imagine a scene or peaceful setting that cheers you up, like your favorite beach.

If you are interested in complementary therapy, talk to your doctor. Even something that seems totally safe can interfere with yours cancer treatment. They can also tell you if the therapy has research to support it. Many hospitals and cancer centers also have an integrative medicine department. He will work with you to find safe and effective therapies. Don’t be afraid to raise this issue either. Your doctor will be happy to answer your questions and concerns so that you can get the best care possible.

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