Alternative prostate cancer treatment is an umbrella term for all of the nontraditional approaches. These can include:
- Dietary changes
- Vitamin supplements
- Oral supplements, including minerals, enzymes, essential fatty acids, and amino acids
- Food supplements, such as shark or bovine (cow) cartilage
- Foods, such as those made from soybean or shiitake mushrooms
Some men may go down this road in the hope of curing their prostate cancer.
Adding to existing treatment
If you and your loved one are considering an alternative treatment in addition to his traditional medical treatment, it is very important to discuss this with your loved one’s healthcare team.
You want to be sure that it will not interfere or cause dangerous or even life-threatening side effects.
Certain herbs, and even certain foods, can have an affect on the body. It is always important to understand and discuss these possible effects with a medical professional.
In place of treatment
If you and your loved one are considering an alternative treatment in place of traditional treatment, also discuss this with your man’s healthcare team.
Investigate or ask if there are any clinical studies conducted by reputable medical institutions that show that the proposed treatment has been proven to be safe and effective. You can also search on your own at pubmed.org.
Certain types of treatment that are not designed to cure prostate cancer, but may be used in addition to traditional treatments, are called complementary treatments.
They may include activities such as:
- Music therapy
Some cancer centers now offer these complementary treatments for both men with cancer and their loved ones. They may help relieve some of the stress that’s common when you are coping with prostate cancer.
Watch for warning signs with alternative prostate cancer treatment
The American Cancer Society suggests looking for these “red flags” when researching an alternative prostate cancer treatment:
- Does the treatment claim to cure all or most men with prostate cancer? Unfortunately, there is no current treatment that is known to cure every man
- Are you being told to avoid traditional medical treatment? This could be life-threatening
- Are you being offered a “secret” that requires you to see specific people or travel to a foreign country? This sounds like a real scam
When in doubt, always ask a qualified healthcare professional. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Reference: The American Cancer Society. Prostate Cancer. http://www.cancer.org. Accessed March 17, 2015.