Cancer is the name given to a collection of diseases in which some of the body’s cells begin to abnormally divide and spread to surrounding tissues. Cancer can start anywhere in the body, and it breaks down the orderly process of human cell growth, division, and death. New cells may form when they’re not needed, damaged cells may not die as they should, and extra cells may divide without stopping and form tumors.
Chemotherapy is a powerful drug treatment used to kill fast-growing cancerous cells in the body. It may be used as the sole treatment for cancer or to kill hidden cancer cells that remain in the body after other treatments. It is often used to shrink a tumor to make other types of treatments like surgery possible, and it may be used to ease the symptoms of cancer, which is known as palliative chemotherapy.
Underlying Causes of the Side Effects of Chemotherapy
While chemotherapy is considered an effective treatment method for many types of cancer, it may come with a host of significant side effects that range from mild to serious.
These side effects occur because chemotherapy not only kills fast-growing cancer cells but may affect normal, healthy fast-growing healthy cells as well. It is the damage to these cells that causes the unpleasant side effects and symptoms of chemo.
Some of the most common symptoms of chemotherapy include; nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss, loss of appetite, fever, and fatigue. Patients may also get mouth sores, constipation, bleeding, easy bruising, along with moderate to severe pain.
Natural Treatments and Remedies for Chemotherapy Symptoms
Fortunately, many of the side effects of chemotherapy can potentially be managed with either traditional or natural treatment options. If you’re looking for natural remedies, discuss the following options as seen below, with your doctor.
1. Use CBD and Cannabis for Chemotherapy Treatment
In many states, medical cannabis is an approved natural treatment option for patients with cancer as well as those undergoing chemotherapy. Studies indicate that the therapeutic cannabinoids found in medical cannabis and CBD have good potential to help cancer patients find well-being and better manage the side effects and symptoms of cancer and cancer treatments.
Medical cannabis may be used to reduce nausea and vomiting, particularly when standard anti-nausea drugs may not help to relieve symptoms. Further, medical cannabis may help increase appetite in patients suffering from loss of appetite, weight loss, and cachexia (wasting syndrome). Many patients also consider it to be an effective treatment option for long-term and severe pain.
If you want to use medical cannabis to treat chemotherapy side effects, you can book an appointment with Heally. A licensed cannabis-friendly doctor will help you fill out an application for a medical marijuana card.
If medical cannabis is not yet legal in your state, consider treating your side effects using CBD products. CBD offers many of the same therapeutic benefits as medical cannabis, yet it’s legal nationwide and can be delivered right to your home.
2. Herbs and Supplements
While some herbs may help ease some of the symptoms and side effects of cancer treatments, others such as St. John’s wort and antioxidant pills may actually interfere with how well one’s chemotherapy treatment works. Therefore, it is critical to discuss any herb or supplement use with your physician before starting use.
Some options you may want to consider trying to include:
Ginger: to reduce nausea and vomiting
High-dose ginseng: to reduce cancer-related fatigue
Zinc: to help prevent taste changes
Glutamine: may help reduce mouth sores and peripheral neuropathy (pain, numbness, and weakness in the hands and feet)
Acupuncture is a traditional form of Chinese medicine that involves putting tiny needles in the skin to improve the body’s energy flow and potentially stimulate the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals.
If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, acupuncture may help you cope with pain and lessen the severity of other symptoms, including dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, hot flashes, and anxiety.
Hypnosis uses relaxation techniques and imagery to help put you in a calm, trance-like state where you’ll be able to concentrate more deeply and be more open to suggestions. Research suggests that hypnosis may be a helpful natural treatment option for many symptoms associated with chemo, including pain, stress, anxiety, and nausea.