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Prostate Cancer Alternative Remedies

Vitamin or mineral supplements, when used to help cure a medical problem (such as prostate cancer) or to relieve its symptoms, fall into the realm of alternative remedies, as do special diets or other nontraditional treatments. Researchers are currently studying whether alternative remedies may be useful as supplemental prostate cancer treatments, and whether they offer some additional value for preventing cancer from developing in the first place.

In addition, alternative remedies may sometimes help men cope with some of the side effects of traditional treatments such as hormone therapy. Finally, anecdotal evidence suggests that some alternative remedies may add some additional benefit to existing established therapies such as surgery and radiation.

Your doctor may refer to some alternative remedies as alternative medicines, complementary medicines, or alternative therapies. All of these terms refer to nontraditional treatments and medications.

But you shouldn't get swept off your feet by the potential benefits of alternative remedies - scientific evidence has not yet adequately proven their effectiveness. In general, alternative remedies are best considered as preventive measures against cancer rather than as remedies for cancers that need treatment now. Alternative remedies should never be used as a substitute for treating cancer that's already been diagnosed.

Considering The Pros & Cons

Many men - even those who've never tried alternative remedies before - become fascinated by the idea that some special plant or vitamin (or yet-to-be-discovered elixir) may be able to cure prostate cancer or even prevent it from developing in the first place. While no magic cure for prostate cancer is available, current studies are being performed to determine if alternative remedies can help prevent or halt a recurrence of the disease. Major breakthroughs may occur, but for now, you need to understand that a note of caution is in order when using alternative remedies. You need to keep in mind both the basic pros and cons.

Yes, There Are Benefits Of Alternative Remedies

Some preliminary studies indicate that some alternative remedies, especially lycopene, vitamins E and D, and selenium, may be effective at preventing prostate cancer from developing or recurring. Alternative remedies may also give you some hope when traditional medicines don't seem to be working that well. Alternative remedies also may provide men with some relief from the side effects of treatments for prostate cancer.

Don't Ignore The Downsides Of Alternative Remedies

Men sometimes put too much hope in studies that may be performed on only a handful of men or based on some slickly written ad copy on a product that hasn't been tested at all. Even worse, some men may decide to take unproven alternative medicines and ignore traditional treatments that can save or at least extend their lives. That's not to say that all alternative remedies are bad, but setting aside your doctor's judgment and reasoned medical opinions for something a newspaper ad touts or some pitchman tries to sell you on the Internet is a very foolish and even life-threatening way to go.

You are urged to carefully weigh the possible benefits along with the very real risks of alternative remedies and share your decision with your physician. Be sure to tell your doctor if you're taking any form of alternative medicine, no matter how confident you are that the drug is natural and, therefore, can't hurt you.

Some alternative remedies may interfere with medications your doctor prescribes to treat your prostate cancer, and some alternative drugs may impede the effectiveness of chemotherapy medications. You certainly don't want to inadvertently decrease or neutralize the cancer-killing properties of the medications your doctor orders. To be safe, tell your doctor about your alternative remedies. He will let you know if the remedies present a risk.

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