Complementary approaches – Presse santé

The fight against cancer begins with a frontal attack with the treatments you have chosen with your doctor: surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc. But around these therapeutic approaches, it is possible to add care supplements that will strengthen the treatments and your terrain. Certain complementary care can judiciously support you physically or morally or help you to attenuate the side effects of the treatments. Overview of what works.

In 2005, a large study carried out by Dr. Alexander Molassiotis, university professor in Manchester (United Kingdom) and published in Annals of Oncology, concluded that 35% of people with cancer seek complementary care. The study revealed that the top three complementary therapies used by patients are: herbal medicine, homeopathy and acupuncture.

These three complementary therapies are accessible either on their own, by word of mouth or in a directory of practitioners, or available in certain hospitals with complementary care services.

This is because these treatment support options are not only no longer considered suspect therapies, but are on the contrary included in the March 2003 cancer plan measures (measures 42 and 43). Called supportive care, they are defined as a global approach to the sick person and aim to coordinate different skills involved in conjunction with specific oncological care in the care of the patient. This care aims to ensure a better quality of life for patients on the psychological, physical and social levels by taking into account the diversity of needs.

Each support treatment has its specificity and its field of action. Here are some of the best known and recognized.

1 Complementary approaches most used by patients

Phytotherapy strengthen and drain

Molassiotis’ study placed herbal medicine as the first treatment to which patients have recourse. The use of medicinal plants is ancestral in Europe or in the world and is still the first source of treatment, all pathologies combined, for 80% of humanity who do not have access to medicines. Some plants are scientifically recognized, in particular by the “German Commission E” which has listed in the scientific literature all the effects of commonly used medicinal plants.

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Among the plants most used as accompaniments to classic treatments, we can mention echinacea or graviola for their immunostimulant power, goji berries or pomegranate juice as a general tonic for the body, or finally, desmodium or milk thistle for their draining and detoxifying effect after receiving chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

However, it is advisable each time to seek the advice of your doctor, because certain plants can interact negatively with the treatments. For example, St. John’s wort, used in mild depressive states, such as those sometimes encountered in certain cancer patients, is contraindicated with anticoagulants and not recommended during radiotherapy because it increases sensitivity to radiation.

Homeopathy accompany and support

Homeopathy as supportive care is now commonly used in various oncology departments, particularly in eastern France. At the Strasbourg University Hospital, for example, the oncology consultation can now easily be combined with a consultation with a homeopathic doctor specializing in oncology.

The specificity of homeopathy, the second most used complementary therapy by patients, makes it a powerful tool for taking charge of the patient’s condition or for mitigating the side effects of treatments. Since practicing this specialty at the University Hospital of Strasbourg, Dr. Bagot has been able to note significant improvements in general condition at 97%, a reduction in fatigue at 93% and a reduction in nausea and vomiting at 85% thanks to to homeopathic medicines.

According to Dr. Bagot, homeopathy support accompanies the patient from the moment of the announcement until the end of the treatments.

For example, following the psychological shock of the announcement of the diagnosis: Arnica on a scale: 9CH on the 1st day, 12CH on the 2nd, 15CH on the 4th and 30CH on the 5th day. Following surgery, in order to accelerate the healing of linear wounds: Staphysagria 9CH, 48 hours after the operation. At the time of chemotherapy, to reduce nausea and vomiting: NUX Vomica in 7CH, 2 to 4 times a day. With the taking of anti-emetics, constipation may occur. Then take Opium, the main drug for constipation in oncology, in 9CH, 3 granules 1 to 3 times a day. Against fatigue, the drug most often used in oncology for patients exhausted by treatment is: Aceticum acidum, 5 to 7CH, 3 granules, 2 to 4 times a day.

Acupuncture: regulate and tone

Acupuncture is based on traditional Chinese medicine, according to which we all have a life force or energy (which is called ‘ch’i’) which flows along passages known as meridians. If some of these meridians become blocked, health will be affected and certain symptoms will develop. Acupuncture aims to unblock these passages and rebalance health by inserting sterilized needles into acupuncture points (often in the forearms, hands, lower legs and feet). Acupuncture is used as part of conventional and alternative medicine. Acupuncture is mainly used to relieve the pain felt by patients, to tone up the body and boost “general energy”. Acupuncture can reduce the harshest effects of anti-cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy and even combine with them to increase their effectiveness.

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2 Approaches through the body: touch, move two easy keys

Touch care

There are various accompanying treatments by the body that involve touch, such as osteopathy, chiropractic or shiatsu. This care can help to better support the treatments and the side effects.

Osteopathy can help relax the body and the joints and erase the aches caused by certain treatments.

Chiropractic is a technique now recognized worldwide which, through gentle readjustments of the spine, restores balance to the nervous system, releases accumulated tension, promotes a state of inner calm and, some studies show, naturally boost the immune system. Finally, Shiatsu, a Japanese touch technique inspired by acupuncture but which works with acupressure (the practitioner works with his hands and finger pressures and not with needles) helps to balance and energize “energies”. This results in a deep relaxation of the mind and body, promoting a more serene general state. Moreover, the activation of the great cycles of the organism by the stimulation of certain points

promotes complete drainage of residual pollutants and toxins from certain drug treatments

Physical activity and stimulation of vitality

Physical activity is a kind of “self-treatment”. Many studies have shown that the body’s regulatory and defense mechanisms that fight cancer can be stimulated directly by physical activity. We know, for example, that 30 minutes of physical activity a day reduces the risk of relapse in the case of breast cancer by 50%. This is a reduction that no treatment can achieve.

In absolute terms, any type of activity is suitable. As long as it matches his abilities and general condition. For some activities, the benefits are better known. Yoga thus promotes inner relaxation and deep breathing, a guarantee of heart rate stability. Tai-chi, gentle Chinese gymnastics, promotes a state of well-being which acts directly on states of depression and on the general vitality of the body, or finally Karate-do, which stimulates a confident and committed state of mind. Static, slow, dynamic, everyone can choose what suits them, but in the end, walking or cycling do just as much, the only important thing being to get started.

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3 Spirit Approaches: Overcoming Negative Feelings

The state of mind plays a major role in the spread of cancer cells. While stress does not directly cause cancer, on the other hand, it can lessen and weaken the body’s natural defenses, making it easier for tumor cells to spread. At the source of certain negative, pessimistic, or depressed states of mind, very often lies the feeling of helplessness and despair. These two feelings feed a general apathetic state which favors the weakening of defenses. Conversely, a positive state of mind or at least a feeling of well-being promotes better activity of the immune system. Several techniques exist.

Sophrology, for example, at each stage of cancer, sophrology can provide beneficial help. First of all, it makes it possible to divert the person from his negative feelings (fears, anxieties, sufferings…), by helping him to concentrate on positive feelings. Sitting or lying down, the patient learns to breathe through the belly and to relax. There is no physical contact with the therapist, just let yourself be carried away by the voice and the indications of the sophrologist.

Hypnosis, this treatment allows the therapist to immerse you in a modified state of consciousness, between waking and sleeping, which allows you to access a feeling of relaxation and relaxation. Contrary to popular belief, hypnosis does not make you lose control of yourself and you can interrupt a session at any time.

We have dealt more broadly with all these subjects in the magazine part of our site. You can find them easily.

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