Alternative medicineBy Mayo Clinic staff
If your doctor has told you that your lung cancer can't be cured, you may be tempted to turn to complementary and alternative medicine for answers. Complementary and alternative lung cancer treatments can't cure your cancer. But complementary and alternative treatments can often be combined with your doctor's care to help relieve signs and symptoms. Your doctor can help you weigh the benefits and risks of complementary and alternative treatments.
The American College of Chest Physicians reviewed available complementary and alternative treatments and found that some therapies may help people with lung cancer, including:
- Acupuncture. During an acupuncture session, a trained practitioner inserts small needles into precise points on your body. Acupuncture may relieve pain and ease cancer treatment side effects, such as nausea, vomiting and dry mouth, but there's no evidence that acupuncture has any effect on your cancer. Acupuncture can be safe when done by a certified practitioner. Ask your doctor to recommend someone in your community. But acupuncture isn't safe if you have low blood counts or take blood thinners.
- Hypnosis. Hypnosis is a type of therapy that puts you in a trance-like state that can be relaxing. Hypnosis is typically done by a therapist who leads you through relaxation exercises and asks you to think pleasing and positive thoughts. Hypnosis may reduce anxiety, nausea and pain in people with cancer.
- Massage. During a massage, a massage therapist uses his or her hands to apply pressure to your skin and muscles. Massage can help relieve anxiety, distress, fatigue and pain in people with cancer. Some massage therapists are specially trained to work with people who have cancer. Ask your doctor for names of massage therapists in your community. Massage shouldn't hurt. Your massage therapist shouldn't put pressure anywhere near your tumor or any surgical wounds. Avoid having a massage if your blood counts are low or if you're taking blood thinners.
- Meditation. Meditation is a time of quiet reflection in which you focus on something, such as an idea, image or sound. Meditation may reduce stress and improve quality of life in people with cancer. Meditation can be done on your own, or there may be instructors in your community. Ask for recommendations from your health care team or friends and family.
- Yoga. Yoga combines gentle stretching movements with deep breathing and meditation. Yoga may help people with cancer sleep better. Yoga is generally safe when taught by a trained instructor, but don't do any moves that hurt or don't feel right. Many fitness centers offer yoga classes. Ask your friends and family for opinions on yoga classes they've taken.
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