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Alternative Medicine and Treatments

When it comes to treating asbestos cancer, the first line of defense will usually be chemotherapy, radiation and sometimes surgery. But there are a growing number of physicians who add complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) to the regime.

Complementary treatments are meant to accompany and work alongside conventional treatments. These include yoga, massage and chiropractic care. These are typically used to alleviate pain and make treatment less stressful. Alternative treatments, including plant extracts, vitamins and minerals and other naturally occurring substances, are used as substitutes for conventional treatments. Most doctors do not recommend this.

Complementary and Alternative Medicines

Overall, CAMs are considered unconventional treatments because there is no real clinical data to prove they work. However, anecdotal evidence has found they work on some patients.

Complementary Medicines - When conventional treatments become overwhelming, doctors often tell patients to try some complementary medicine treatments. Complementary therapies can sync the mind and body during the stressful time of mesothelioma treatment. Many patients consider complementary therapies to be welcome distractions from common cancer treatments. These following treatments are aimed at stress relief, palliative care, and healing energy:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic Care
  • Healing Touch Therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Pet Therapy
  • Yoga

Alternative treatments are supposed to be a substitute for conventional asbestos-cancer treatments. They are sometimes called natural medicines. Patients who are considering alternative medicines are strongly urged to consult with their physicians because some alternative medicines are known to interact with prescription medications. Many forms of alternative medications are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means they have not gone through clinical trials or significant scientific study. The following are some popular alternative medicines that have been used by asbestos-cancer patients:

  • Astragalus - A plant that mainly grows in China, this is said to inhibit the growth of tumors.
  • Mistletoe - This has been shown to kill cancer cells.
  • Vitamin C - This is said to strengthen muscles and bones.

Dr. Robert Cameron and Cryotherapy

Among the many interesting new therapies emerging is cryotherapy, which kills cancer cells with liquid nitrogen and extreme cold. For this treatment, physicians freeze tumors with liquid nitrogen and kill the cells. The frozen tissue then thaws and is either removed or absorbed into the body.

While it is regularly used in many types of cancer, research is still ongoing to determine its effectiveness in asbestos-related cancers. On the forefront of the research is Dr. Robert Cameron of the Pacific Meso Center in Los Angeles. Cameron has already shown that asbestos-cancer cells are cold sensitive.

How to Choose a CAM Therapy

It is important to remember that many licensed medical doctors do not recommend CAMs as an alternative to conventional treatments, especially when dealing with a disease as serious as asbestos-related cancers. Some doctors pass CAMs off as quackery because there have been no substantial scientific studies that prove their effectiveness. Before deciding on any CAM treatment, it is important to consult with your doctor first.

Cancer Survivors and CAMs

For any asbestos-cancer patient, it is encouraging to know that there have been patients who have used CAM and conventional treatments together with great success.

  • Paul Kraus was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1997 at the age of 52. Today, he continues his holistic regime of natural medicines, food supplements, meditation and Christian beliefs. He has authored several books about surviving cancer.
  • Judy Glezinski was diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1990. After radiation therapy and surgery, she used holistic methods including better nutrition and meditation. She lived for 20 years following the initial diagnosis.
  • Wayne Neal was diagnosed in 1991 with mesothelioma. Shortly after, he started eating tart red cherries. He still eats them regularly.


Berkowitz, Ben. “Special Report: The long, lethal shadow of asbestos.” Reuters. Retrieved from http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/11/us-usa-asbestos-lawsuits-idUSBRE84A0J920120511

O’Connor, Michael. “Review: Prayers, Promises & Prescription for Healing.” Aurora. Retrieved from http://aurora.realviewtechnologies.com/?iid=70149