Natural Remedies For Advanced Stages Of Cancer
Echinacea or purple cone flower
A word about the disease itself
Cancer or malignancy is an uncontrolled proliferation of pleuripotent or undifferentiated cells that form a mass or nodule which expands and encroaches upon the surrounding structures, then attacks the blood vessels and lymphatics and through them spreads to distant sites in the body.
The cancer cell competes with healthy cells of the body to survive using natural mutability and natural selection in a recapitulation of the concept of evolution (Theory of natural selection by Charles Darwin suggesting survival of the fittest). As a consequence of this traitorous behaviour of malignant cells, the individual with cancer feels betrayed by his or her body and suffers the trauma of being diseased.
The current treatment techniques including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, biological therapy and immunotherapy, result in almost complete cure of at least 50% of the patients diagnosed with cancer. But for those with treatment resistant, advanced cancer disease, the prognosis still remains grim.
Complications in late stages of cancer
Certain common complications and traumatic symptoms that individuals with advanced cancer suffer from, are listed below :
Pain in a cancer patient may be due to progressive disease or due to treatment procedures. In 70% of the cases, pain is caused by the tumor itself - by invasion of bone, nerves, blood vessels or mucus membranes or obstruction of a hollow viscus or duct. In about 20% of the cases, pain is related to a surgical or an invasive medical procedure, to radiation injury (mucositis, enteritis or spinal cord injury) or to chemotherapy injury (swelling of inner linings of the mouth, nerve damage, thrombosis and infection in the veins, steroid induced aseptic necrosis of the head of femur or the hip bone. In 10% of the cases, pain is unrelated to cancer or its treatment.
Emesis or vomiting is a common consequence of chemotherapy. It could be an acute emesis within 24 hours of treatment; delayed emesis that occurs 1-7 days after treatment and is due to bowel inflammation; or anticipatory emesis that occurs before administration of chemotherapy and is a conditioned response to visual and olfactory stimuli previously associated with chemotherapy delivery.
Fluid may accumulate abnormally in the pleural cavity of lungs, pericardium of heart or peritoneum that covers organs of the abdomen. Lung cancer, breast cancer and lymphomas mostly lead to malignant effusions around the lungs. The fluid accumulation can lead to difficulty in breathing, pain, cough and add on to the suffering of the patient.
4. Weight loss or cancer cachexia
Cancer and its treatment both lead to loss of appetite and altered metabolism causing severe weight loss. Tumor derived factors (for example, Bombesin, Adrenocorticotropic hormone) and host derived factors (for example, Tumor Necrosis Factor, Interleukin 1 & 6) contribute to altered metabolism. Breakdown of proteins, glucose intolerance and lipolysis cannot be reversed by provision of calories.
5. Bone marrow suppression
Cancer therapies lead to suppression of bone marrow causing reduction in counts of red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets in the blood. Anemia is the most common dose related side effect of cancer therapies. Cancer itself can cause anemia. Reduced neutrophil counts lead to increased risk of opportunistic infection that further complicate the situation. Lowering platelet counts may increase the risk of spontaneous haemorrhages.
A depressed mood and/or a loss of interest in pleasure (anhedonia) is a common feature in cancer patients. In addition, loss of appetite, insomnia, agitation, fatigue, feeling of guilt or worthlessness, inability to concentrate and suicidal ideations are also present.
Green tea for cancer therapy
Herbs that heal cancer in advanced stages
- Green tea - Green tea or Camellia sinensis is rich in polyphenols like epigallocatechin-3-gallate that block the proteins which promote tumor cell growth and migration. Regular intake of green tea can retard the growth of breast and prostate cancers.
- Echinacea - Also known as the purple cone flower, echinacea is used to treat upper respiratory tract infections (cough, cold, coryza, pharyngitis). It contains active chicoric acid alkaloids that stimulate natural killer cells (NK cells), macrophages, cytokines and enhance overall immunity providing anti cancer effect. It should be avoided in persons with very low immunity and should not be used for more than 4 weeks.
- Essiac tea - Better known as tea of life, it is a mix of burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm and Indian rhubarb root. It is useful in therapy resistant cancers for boosting immune system and controlling or curing cancer. You can buy Essiacas a powder, make it into a tea and drink it on an empty stomach or two hours before meals. Named after a nurse from Canada who devised the formula of this mixture, Essiac tea is an elixir of life for cancer patients.
- Mistletoe - It is a sacred herb used in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer and other solid tumors. It strengthens the immunity and improves the chances of survival and quality of life.
- Spirulina - It is a blue green algae that is a good source of proteins, vitamins, minerals and micronutrients. Spirulina is the only source of enzyme superoxide dismutase , besides human body. It is the richest known source of beta carotene, which is 10 times higher than in carrots. It is very useful to fulfil the dietary requirements in cancer related cachexia.
- Holy basil and curcumin - Ocimum sanctum or holy basil acts as a cyclo oxygenase-2(COX-2) inhibitor which helps keep inflammation at bay and decreases cancer associated pain. Its active ingredient eugenol inhibits multiplication, migration and invasion of cancer cells and induces apoptosis (programmed destruction of cancer cells). Curcumin found in turmeric prevents cancer due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It has the ability to modulate genetic activity and expression by destroying cancer cells and promoting healthy cell function.
Cancer healing herbs
Effects on cancer cells
Block cancer promoters
Burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm, rhubarb root
Inhibit multiplication of cancer
Cancer is not the end of life, even in advanced stages. A positive attitude can do miracles even in advanced stages of cancer. There are examples of individuals who have survived cancer even in late stages only by their will power and regular treatment. In my next hub, I shall be discussing about alternative therapies and diet in advanced stages of cancer.
So fight the battle, you will be a crusader!