Alternative Medicine for Lung Cancer

Our team of lung cancer lawyers strives to provide our clients with the most up-to-date, comprehensive information on supporting and alternative cancer treatments. We recently reported on a treatment type for patients with a specific type of lung cancer known as oligometastasic. Below, we outline three other complementary treatments patients should consider.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a safe, non-invasive treatment to reduce nausea, pain, depression, and anxiety among lung cancer patients. During each session, a trained and certified practitioner inserts small needles into specific points on the body to re-balance energy flow and stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue. This stimulation increase blood flow and boosts the body’s natural painkillers. The needles are placed between one and two-and-a-half centimeters into the body until a particular sensation, called de-qi, is achieved. De-qi is described as an electric sensation at the needle site. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin, so insertion and removal causes little to no discomfort. Needles typically remain in place for 10 to 20 minutes.

One study evaluated more than 30 lung cancer patients who received acupuncture treatments one to two times per week for at least four sessions. Researchers found acupuncture reduced pain levels in more than 60% of patients, and 70% noticed improvements in their sense of well-being overall after six acupuncture sessions. Researchers found improvements in pain reduction, nervousness, depression, shortness of breath, drowsiness and nausea.

Acupuncture is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to relate to neurovascular tissue planes within the body. Acupuncture can cause the release of neurotransmitters and hormones that regulate bodily functioning, such as blood pressure, inflammation, body temperature, and pain signals. Many people find acupuncture helpful for controlling painful conditions, and since there are few side effects, it is a great option for those who are curious or struggling to cope with chemotherapy-induced nausea. Patients with blood conditions or those on blood thinners, with pacemakers, or who are pregnant should not partake in acupuncture.

Hypnosis

Hypnotherapy is often used by psychologists to help patients break bad habits or manage pain. A professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University referred to hypnotherapy as the “oldest Western conception of psychotherapy.” The same professor recently completed a study on hypnosis, finding that patients who used the therapy as part of a comprehensive treatment plan enjoyed shorter surgery times and reduced drug costs.

An article in the National Cancer Institute Journal found that patients receiving hypnotherapy saved $772 per patient, mainly from reduced surgical time. These patients reported less post-surgical pain, discomfort, fatigue, and nausea.

Fortunately, most insurance companies cover at least half to 80% of hypnotherapy costs, though only if practiced by a licensed professional. Hypnosis places patients in an extreme relaxed state – halfway between being completely asleep and completely awake – using verbal and nonverbal cues. In this state, the subconscious part of the brain, which is responsible for non-logical thoughts, becomes open to suggestions. Hypnotherapists then start using imagery and suggestion to help patients start thinking about their diagnosis and treatment.

It is important that both patient and hypnotherapist agree to the intention of the sessions beforehand, such as reducing pain or coping with a poor prognosis.

More Resources

About one in five cancer diagnoses in the U.S. involve a patient who has had cancer before. Coping with a second – or third or fourth – diagnosis can be confusing and difficult.

Second cancers can arise from the same gene mutations or risk factors (such as asbestos exposure) that caused the first diagnosis. Psychologically, the second diagnosis can be more traumatizing than the first, as patients face knowingly-painful treatments and may experience limitations in therapy options. Alternative and complimentary treatments like acupuncture, hypnotherapy, meditation, massage, and yoga, can help patients cope with these new challenges.

We offer a free book, 100 Questions & Answers on Mesothelioma, to anyone interested or concerned about this difficult type of cancer. Please visit our website or call 800-310-2222 for more information. Our case reviews and consultations are always free, and available to cancer fighters nationwide.

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