Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the most common cancer treatments. In most cases, they are among the first treatments prescribed for most cancer patients. This includes stomach cancers.
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. Sometimes, 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.
This reality is especially troubling for people diagnosed with liver cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, about 41,000 people will be diagnosed with some kind of liver cancer and about 30,000 will die in 2022. These numbers represent a dramatic rise in both diagnoses and death rates, highlighting a need for new ways to treat these cancers and help people manage them and their symptoms.
That’s why new treatments are needed. In fact, given the limitations of existing treatments, particularly when it comes to their numerous side effects, it’s important to find treatments that can support current treatments or be used as alternatives that can give people choices. Fortunately, various alternative and supportive cancer treatments for liver cancer have been studied, with some promise.
Below are a few alternatives/complements to standard treatment for colon cancer. These alternative treatments can be grouped into one of two categories: herbs, supplements, diet, or mental/mindfulness practices.
Believe it or not, there’s an entire list of fruits, vegetables, and spices that have been studied in relation to a lot of different kinds of cancer, including types of liver cancer. Here’s a list of a few common ones and what studies have shown about their effects on liver cancer:
Products made from grapes (including skins and seeds) contain high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants have a strong link to cancer due to the protective benefits they offer the body, including helping prevent cellular damage that can lead to cancer. Specifically, they help prevent a chemical called free radicals from causing damage to the body.
Generally, research has shown that different grape-material products can lead to the prevention of cancer cell development, including damaging liver cancer cell DNA and forcing these cells to die off.
Black currants, much like grapes, also contain various types of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can also lead cancer cells to die off.
Here again, the trend continues with the antioxidative qualities of certain fruits, with certain plum products inducing cell death in cancer cells.
These are just a few fruits that have shown a connection between antioxidants and cancer benefits. Several other fruits, such as pomegranates, jujube (a type of date), and even apples.
Much like with fruits, research shows that consuming certain kinds of vegetables can also have a beneficial impact on our health, including reducing the risk of liver cancer. Research has linked these benefits to two specific compounds: glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. These are a type of “phytochemical,” which has been shown to have anti-cancer benefits.
Some examples of vegetables shown to have some anti-liver cancer benefits include:
- Cruciferous veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, etc.)
- French bean
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine has existed for thousands of years. More recently, it has emerged in popularity as an alternative to Western medicine, particularly for cancer.
When it comes to liver cancer, some research has explored how various aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine could be used for treating or supporting people with liver cancer. Specifically, two particular types of medicinal plants have been studied for liver cancer: Astragalus membranaceous and Salvia miltiorrhiza. Research suggests that both of these plants could be used to treat certain kinds of liver cancer.
Many cancer treatments are focused largely on the physical aspects of cancer, whether it be actively targeting tumors and cancer cells or dealing with the physical side effects of taking cancer treatment (such as fatigue). Some complementary therapies help focus on the mental effects of cancer and cancer treatment, including stress and depression.
Some research, for example, has shown that online self-guided mindfulness therapy could help improve feelings of psychological distress and improve sleep quality in people with certain types of liver 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.