What is lymphoma?
Lymphomas are blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system. The
lymphatic system is part of the immune system. It helps your body fight off
of lymphoma include:
of the lymph nodes, in the neck, armpit, or groin
tonsils, liver, or spleen
over several weeks
Traditional treatment vs. CAM
Common treatments for lymphoma include radiation and chemotherapy. However, many
people are now considering complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This
refers to treatments or therapies that aren’t routinely included in
conventional, Western medicine. Common CAM treatments include acupuncture,
stress relief, and ginger.
Complementary treatments won’t cure lymphoma, and you shouldn’t postpone
conventional treatments to pursue CAM. However, you can use CAM along with
traditional treatments to control symptoms of lymphoma.
There’s no solid evidence that alternative therapies can treat lymphoma, but
many people claim that it helps relieve symptoms. Always talk to your doctor
before making any changes to your treatment plan.
Deciding to use CAM
According to the National Center for
Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), 30 percent of American adults and 12 percent of American
children use healthcare approaches outside of conventional, Western medicine.
supplements other than vitamins and minerals
tai chi, or qi gong
or osteopathic manipulation
Today, Americans are
looking to CAM more and more. But some CAM options can interfere with
Before you start a CAM treatment, you should talk to your doctor. It’s
also important to choose a CAM practitioner carefully. Consider asking for
recommendations from your doctor or hospital.
Several professional organizations certify CAM practitioners. It’s best to work
with a certified or licensed professional, when possible. Certification implies
that a practitioner has received specific training and has met certain
acceptable standards for safe and competent practice.
License requirements vary by state. CAM services that often are regulated
- chiropractic manipulation
- massage therapy
CAM and symptom reduction
CAM therapies shouldn’t be used solely to treat cancer, but they may be helpful
in reducing symptoms. Several common CAM treatments are described below.
Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting
small needles into points throughout your body. This is said to unblock energy,
or qi, realigning energy pathways. Acupuncture may reduce vomiting caused by
chemotherapy and may also reduce pain.
A number of CAM techniques have been shown to reduce stress and pain associated
with cancer treatment. They can also help balance your mind and body.
Stress-relieving CAM therapies include:
- massage therapy
- tai chi
Ginger is a traditional treatment used for nausea. It has been used for pregnancy-associated
nausea. It may also help relieve nausea associated with chemotherapy.
Ginger may be taken in a variety of ways. Some people like eating candied
ginger or chewing ginger gum. Others prefer taking the powered, dried rhizome in
pill form. Ginger may also be consumed as a beverage.
It’s possible that ginger might interfere with other cancer treatment. If
you’re consuming ginger frequently, be sure to tell your doctor.
Alternative medical systems
Cancer Institute also recommends these alternative practices that have
developed in different cultures to help relieve cancer symptoms:
- Ayurvedic medicine, from India, which focuses on
balancing the mind, body, and spirit
- Chinese medicine, which is based on the opposing
forces yin and yang
- Homeopathy, which uses small doses of medicines
to help the body heal itself
- Naturopathic medicine, which allows the body to
heal itself without the use of substances
Although CAM practices can’t cure cancer by themselves, they can be
effective in relieving some cancer symptoms or relieving side effects of cancer
treatment. Increasing numbers of Americans are turning to CAM to help treat
cancer and many other conditions. But remember: These treatments should be used
in addition to traditional cancer treatments, not by themselves. Be sure to
talk to your doctor before altering any treatment plan.