Cancer treatments continue to advance every day. Despite many of these advances, some of the most common cancer treatments are radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Because they are the most common treatments, they are often the most common types of cancer prescribed. This includes people with soft tissue 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.
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 cancer have been studied with some promise, especially for soft tissue cancers.
Soft tissue sarcomas, or cancers, are cancers that begin in the soft tissues in the body—this includes tissues like muscles and nerves. An estimated 4 out of 100,000 people are diagnosed each year with soft tissue cancers, making it rare cancer. However, there are several types of soft tissue cancer, making it cancer that can target the body in many different ways.
It is more common among men and black people. Alternative treatments are popular among this population for several reasons, with surveys showing that patients often seek alternative therapies to help enhance their immune system, help them feel better, or help them manage other cancer treatments they might be taking.
Below are a few alternatives/complements to standard treatment for soft tissue cancer. These alternative treatments can be grouped into one of three categories: supplements, advances in cancer treatments, and mindfulness therapy.
Mistletoe extract, among other types of supplements and herbs, has been studied in connection to soft tissue cancers. For example, a species of mistletoe (Viscum album), was studied in people with retroperitoneal cancer (or cancer in the soft tissues near the back of the abdomen. It’s been shown to help the body’s immune system while also helping people feel better, especially if they are experiencing symptoms from their cancer or other treatments.
Advances in cancer treatment options
Many advances in cancer therapy seek powerful responses with far fewer side effects and negative reactions compared to treatments like chemotherapy. Here are a few that have been explored for soft tissue cancers.
Dendritic cells are part of your immune system and play an important role. Specifically, dendritic cells are a type of cell called antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Basically, these cells can collect various antigens and present them to other cells, like T-cells, to activate an effective immune system response. The theory behind a dendritic cell vaccine is that it would present antigens specific to a cancer cell to the immune system, allowing it to mount a specific response to these antigens and, in turn, attack cancer cells. In a sense, it would make a cancer that may be “invisible” to your immune system visible again.
Immunotherapy is designed to give your immune system a hand in finding and destroying cancer cells. There are many different kinds of immunotherapy, though one of the more popular approaches involves taking cells from your immune system, training them to detect your specific cancer, and then putting them back into your body to fight off cancer. The hope is that your body is better suited to detect and destroy cancer cells this way.
Some research has shown that immunotherapy may offer benefits to people with soft-tissue sarcoma.
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.
In fact, research consistently shows that complementary therapy is capable of providing this kind of relief to cancer patients
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.