Alternative Treatments for Bladder Cancer

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Updated on September 2, 2022

Alternative Treatments for Bladder Cancer
The most common treatments for cancer involve radiation and chemotherapy treatment. Not only are they the most common treatments for cancer, but they are also often among the first treatments prescribed for most cancer patients. This includes bladder cancer.

These treatments work by targeting a wide area, attacking both healthy and cancer cells. That’s why, whether you’ve received these treatments or not, you probably know they can leave you feeling weak and experiencing a range of side effects. That’s the result of healthy cells being destroyed.

Sometimes, however, chemotherapy fails patients. Chemotherapy-resistant cancer, which means a cancer returns even after it’s been treated, is not uncommon. This situation can leave some feeling hopeless and confused.

That’s why alternative treatments are important. Some types of bladder cancer, such as urinary bladder cancer, are the more common types of cancer. It affects about 4% of men and about 1% of women globally. That’s why having options to support current treatments or use them as alternatives can give people choices and hope. Fortunately, various alternative and supportive cancer treatments exist to help.

Below are a few alternatives/complements to standard treatment for colon cancer. These alternative treatments can be grouped into one of two categories: general nutrition or mental/mindfulness practices.

General Nutrition and Supplements

General Nutrition and Supplements


Research has shown that curcumin has a plethora of health benefits. Chiefly, as a compound that contains antioxidants, curcumin has several benefits that can reduce inflammation and even protect against cancer cells, including preventing them from forming in the first place.

Curcumin interferes with the cellular processes that cause cancer. Specifically, curcumin could also help reduce free radicals and prevent cancer from spreading or starting to begin with. In addition to tissue damage, high levels of free radicals can damage DNA and affect the body’s ability to keep cell growth under control. Uncontrolled cell growth is the hallmark of cancer development.

Curcumin may be particularly effective in combination with other treatment options. For example, curcumin may increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy or protect healthy cells that often get damaged by chemotherapy or radiation.

A recent study,  for example, found that curcumin could have great potential as a treatment when added to other treatments for a more effective outcome.

Frankincense oil

You may remember this oil from the story of the three wise men. It turns out, that this oil packs a lot more health benefits than you might have previously thought.

An older research study explored the use of an extra from the Somalian frankincense herb Boswellia carteri as a treatment for bladder cancer. The study showed that the extract was capable of interfering with the cell growth cycle process and initiating cell death. What’s more impressive, it was able to tell the difference between a healthy cell and a cancer cell, something that treatments like chemotherapy and radiation cannot do.


Phytochemicals are compounds found in a range of plant-based foods. This includes a range of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and more. Though their role in animals is to help a plant fight off pathogens. In humans, they offer similar benefits by helping support the immune system in the body.  This includes helping reduce inflammation and potentially slowing how fast cancer cells grow (if at all).

Specific research has been conducted to examine how phytochemicals help (or work) in people with types of bladder cancer. A more recently discovered phytochemical, Piperlongumine, which is derived from long pepper, was studied for people with bladder cancer. Long pepper is a flowering vine that is often used as a spice. The study found that, while more research is needed, phytochemicals could be potentially beneficial in people with bladder cancer.

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Mental/mindfulness practices

Mental/mindfulness practices

Traditional Korean Medicine

Various types of “traditional medicine” have been explored as alternatives to westernized medicine when it comes to treating cancer. One study explored  Traditional Korean Medicine and its impacts on people with urinary bladder cancer.

Traditional Korean Medicine includes multiple components, though it often involves the following:

  • Herbal therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Pharmacopuncture
  • Moxibustion
  • Cupping therapy

Generally, the study found that implementing various aspects of Traditional Korean Medicine could be a safe and effective way to support patients in their treatment journey with urinary bladder cancer.

With any type of cancer treatment, it’s important to make sure you fully understand the available treatment options and choose options that work for you. This should include talking to your doctor before starting any cancer treatment. They can help you decide which treatment options are right for you.


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