CANCER SUPPORT – GENERAL

 

Definition:

 

Cancer is a chronic disease characterised by uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells, caused by both external factors (e.g., chemicals, radiation, viruses) and internal factors (e.g.,hormones, immune conditions, inherited mutations).

 

Causal factors may act together or in sequence to initiate or promote carcinogenesis. Ten or more years may pass between carcinogenic exposure or inheritance of a mutation and detectable cancer. From first diagnosis, orthodox treatment for cancer includes surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormones, and/or immunotherapy. Neoplastic disease can develop in virtually any organ system and this unregulated growth injures and compromises normal organ functions. Cancer-related diseases are often treated with therapeutic modalities that, in themselves, compromise normally functioning organ systems.

 

Dietary and lifestyle interventions are emerging as effective prevention, treatment and management of various cancers to not only improve outcomes, but also to support long-term quality of life. The benefits of a holistic, multidisciplinary treatment approach are that it supports the different physical, mental, emotional and spiritual experiences of each individual undergoing cancer treatment.

 

Every patient with cancer will have their own unique personal experience of the diagnosis, treatment and remission of their condition. The goal is to develop a personalised treatment plan for each cancer patient which identifies and targets common functional disturbances seen in cancer, but which also addresses the unique requirements of each individual patient.

 

Important Note:

 

For patients undergoing orthodox cancer treatments, it is important to establish the overall intent of medical therapy, whether it is preventative, curative or palliative. It is recommended to communicate all naturopathic treatment strategies to their primary care giver (oncologist) stating naturopathic treatment goals and how this will support their overall treatment.

 

 

Signs and Symptoms

 

 

 

• A tumour mass grows to such size that it partially or completely occludes an essential conduit:coughing, dysphagia etc.

 

• A mass discovered by palpation or x-ray may be a presenting finding, as in breast carcinoma.

 

• Ulceration on the skin or on an epithelial surface can lead to blood loss and occasionally can serve as a portal of infection.

 

• Pain is commonly thought of as a surrogate for cancer, although this is mistaken. Most cancers are initially painless. Pain occurs when a tumour invades, presses on, or stretches a nerve, or when proximal smooth muscle contracts in an attempt to bypass an obstructed or dysfunctional distal segment of a conduit.

 

• Unexplained weight loss may first indicate an unsuspected cancer, and when combined with grumbling low grade discomforts, malaise, and fatigue, is a cause for particular scrutiny.

 

• Pleural or pericardial effusion caused by cancer can lead to dyspnoea and discomfort.

 

• Fever of unknown origin that persists for more than 1 week must include cancer among its possible causes.

 

• Occasionally, patients present with symptoms of specific endocrine hyperactivity that turn out to be caused by cancer.