Alternative medicineBy Mayo Clinic staff
No alternative treatments have been proved to cure chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Alternative treatments for coping with fatigue
Some alternative medicine therapies may help you cope with fatigue, which is commonly experienced by people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Your doctor can treat fatigue by controlling the underlying causes, but often medications alone aren't enough. You may find relief through alternative therapies, such as:
- Relaxation techniques
Talk to your doctor about your options. Together you can devise a plan to help you cope with fatigue.
Green tea extracts for people with early-stage leukemia
A green tea extract has shown some promise in initial clinical trials for treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Laboratory research determined that a compound in green tea extract, called EGCG, can kill chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells.
In a study of people with early-stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia, taking EGCG in pill form reduced some signs of the disease in a portion of the participants. For instance, some participants noticed that their enlarged lymph nodes decreased in size, and blood tests revealed some participants had fewer leukemia cells in their blood. Research into EGCG and green tea is ongoing.
EGCG is generally considered safe, though, at high doses, it can cause complications, such as liver problems, and it may interfere with some medications. Side effects can include nausea, abdominal pain and indigestion. If you're interested in trying EGCG, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits. Your doctor may suggest additional blood tests and exams to watch for signs of side effects.
- Lichtman MA, et al. Williams Hematology. 8th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=69. Accessed March 7, 2013.
- Abeloff MD, et al. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier; 2008. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-4/0/1709/0.html. Accessed March 7, 2013.
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. http://www.lls.org/#/resourcecenter/freeeducationmaterials/leukemia/cll. Accessed March 7, 2013.
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/CLL/patient. Accessed March 7, 2013.
- When cancer doesn't go away. American Cancer Society. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorshipduringandaftertreatment/when-cancer-doesnt-go-away. Accessed March 7, 2013.
- Cancer-related fatigue. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed March 7, 2013.
- Shanafelt TD, et al. Phase 2 trial of daily, oral polyphenon E in patients with asymptomatic, Rai stage 0 to II chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Cancer. 2013;119:363.
- Green tea. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed March 7, 2013.
- Shanafelt TD, et al. Hematologist/oncologist disease-specific expertise and survival: Lessons from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic leukemia (SLL). Cancer. 2012;118:1827.
- Shanafelt TD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 2, 2013.