By Matthew Enright AP, DOM (AP1711) – Palm Beach Gardens, Florida – The treatment of cancer is one of the best examples of how conventional medicine and Chinese medicine can be integrated for the patient’s well being. Patients who consult with us for various types of cancer support and alternative treatments for cancer have already been through the diagnostic process with their conventional physicians; some have begun treatments for cancer, while others are gathering information and options.
For some, it’s their first journey into a vast array of therapies known as complementary medicine. They are often overwhelmed by the choices, promises, and practices of unfamiliar ways to heal their minds and bodies. The challenge we have encountered is finding a balance between conventional and complementary care, while limiting the number of therapies used at any one time, so valid evaluation is possible regarding the success of each specific treatment. A further challenge involves maintaining strong and open lines of communication between the patient and providers. Good communication fosters better understanding and overall better treatment.
Cancer is defined as the abnormal growth, reproduction, and spread of body cells. These cells do not obey the normal signals of the body that control other cells, and behave independently instead of working in harmony with your system.
Sometimes cancer cells reproduce and form a lump or tumor. If the tumor is self-contained and doesn’t spread, it’s called benign and is usually surgically removed. If tumor cells grow, divide, damage the normal cells around them, and invade other tissue or travel through your bloodstream, the cells malignant or cancerous. Metastasis refers to malignant tumor’s cells that enter the bloodstream. The danger comes from the spread of these other tissues in your body, where new tumors can grow.
As tumors grow and multiply, they rob your normal healthy cells of nutrients, disrupting your body’s ability to function. Deteriorating health or death usually results. No one knows exactly why some cells become cancer cells. Exposure to certain substances and particular lifestyle habits are linked to cancer development. For instance, we all know exposure to cigarette smoke puts you at a significantly higher risk of lung cancer. A diet that is high in fat and low in fiber is associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer and is a factor in breast cancer and prostate cancer, too.
There are more than 100 different diseases classified as cancers. In the United States skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer, followed by breast, lung, prostate, colon and rectal, bladder, uterine, oral, leukemia, and pancreatic cancer, respectively.
Alternative Treatments for Cancer
We focus on three main areas of concern when working with patients during their cancer treatment: nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, cancer pain, and the stimulation of the immune system.
We’d like to also point out that we do not encourage patients to use Chinese Medicine to the exclusion of their oncologist or primary physician. We encourage clear communication between the patient’s physicians and our staff to ensure the best care.
While there are studies to support what the efficacy of acupuncture and cancer, more research and integrated programs are needed. Expanding our knowledge will give practitioners and patients the confidence to use acupuncture in the most appropriate and effective ways.
Nausea and Vomiting
Patients tell me how difficult it is to deal with all the emotions and logistics of chemotherapy, but the nausea and vomiting that often follow are just too much to bear. Your energy level and appetite decline rapidly. Anti nausea medications are available, but they may not work to alleviate the problem immediately.
Studies show that acupuncture can be used effectively alone for nausea or provide added relief when using anti nausea treatments. We have found that acupuncture is highly effective in this area, and it’s a real pleasure to bring relief to our patients during a difficult time in their lives. According to the National Institute of Health’s panel of scientists, researchers, and practitioners, clinical studies on humans have shown acupuncture to be effective for nausea caused by cancer chemotherapy.
Acupuncture activates the opioid (painkilling) systems of our bodies. You will most likely feel relaxed and comfortable after your treatment, partly due to the release of these natural substances into your bloodstream. Research has been able to identify several opioids that flow into your central nervous system during acupuncture treatment and thereby reduce pain. Your individual treatment will depend on the location and type of cancer you have. Acupuncture is not done on or around the tumor site. The Qi channels that traverse your body are stimulated to safely relax muscles and decrease the pain that often accompanies cancer.
Boosting Your Immune System
Keeping yourself as healthy as possible during your treatments for cancer is vital to a successful outcome. Acupuncture can be used along with your treatments to maintain overall health. Our immune system is often measured by the percentage of T lymphocyte cells (particularly T-4) that are part of our body’s natural resistance and immunity. Studies are beginning to show a significant increase in T-4 cells following acupuncture treatment. In addition to acupuncture and Chinese herbs for cancer support, we also have incorporated nutrition and diet counseling as part of our program. An alkaline diet and proper nutrition and supplementation can greatly boost your immune system and increase your energy.
Skilled Acupuncturists with Experience in Alternative Therapies for Cancer
In 2012, Dr. Matthew Enright received his certification in Advanced Acupuncture for Cancer Patients – Integrative Oncology from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Integrative Medicine Service. And the following year, Dr. Enright received his certification in Herbs and Dietary Supplements in Cancer Care from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Integrative Medicine Service.
Many of his patients are finding that adding acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and nutrition to their conventional cancer treatment helps them feel better during the process of healing. We truly believe that we can help you in your healing process. If you live in the Palm Beach Gardens area, please call us to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Matthew Enright. Learn more about Dr. Enright and his unique approach to healthcare