While brain cancer is certainly not one of the most common types of cancer, it is very important to discuss and understand how complementary and integrative care can help such patients. Known risk factors for the development of brain cancers include exposure to ionizing radiation and certain chemicals, such as solvents, petroleum products and pesticides.
From an evidence perspective, it is currently inconclusive as to whether cell phones are implicated in the development of brain cancer. However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified cell phones as “possibly” carcinogenic to humans. Until we know for sure, as a way to prevent brain tumours, it is best to use bluetooth devices as they emit less radiation than cell phones.
What Are the Early Signs of Brain Tumours?
The following symptoms, especially if they come on suddenly and are unusual for you to experience, should be taken seriously and properly assessed:
- headaches – may worsen when coughing, sneezing or bending over;
- nausea and vomiting;
- cognitive dysfunction – memory issues, personality changes;
- new onset seizures – if someone experiences their first seizure after age 35, it is likely it is due to a brain tumour;
- changes in vision, balance, speech, or sensory loss;
- unexplained weight loss or appetite changes; and
- fatigue and weakness.
What Happens After a Brain Cancer Diagnosis?
Primary treatment of brain tumours will include a combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, with the goal of removing the tumour or shrinking the tumour. Other prescription medications are often commonly prescribed, such as anti-epileptics to control seizures, and glucocorticoids to decrease swelling and inflammation of the brain.
There are many side effects that go along with conventional therapy, and many if not most can be appropriately managed with integrative cancer care.
Complementary and Integrative Care for Brain Tumours
The goals of a holistic, natural approach to the treatment of brain tumours are to ensure proper nutrition, preserve cognitive function, improve sleep and mood, and to assist naturally with shrinking of brain tumours. To help manage some of the side effects of conventional treatment for brain tumours, some of the following natural treatments may be prescribed:
- To improve appetite – appetite and nutrition almost always become a concern, and bitter herbs such as gentian, or minerals such as zinc, can help to improve appetite and enjoyment of eating.
- Boswellia – this is a great herb for use in brain cancer, as it has been shown in several clinical trials to decrease inflammation and swelling of the brain, and decrease the need for steroids.
- Melatonin – this can improve sleep quality in people with brain cancer, and has also been shown to sensitize cancer cells to the effects of radiation.
This is by no means a comprehensive review of all the types of natural treatments for brain cancer, but just an example of ways that naturopathic medicine can help. Call my clinic at 403-984-3538 to get a personalized, in depth treatment plan.