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8 Myths about Alternative Lung Cancer Treatments

Alternative therapies often play important roles in the treatment of lung cancer. While chemotherapy, surgery and conventional treatments are required to remove or shrink tumors, alternative therapies can relieve the symptoms of lung cancer while softening unpleasant side effects. Although alternative therapies for lung cancer aren't backed by scientific research, numerous patients have reported positive results when incorporating these therapies into their treatment plans. Talk to your doctor if you're curious about these approaches. In the meantime, here are eight common myths about alternative lung cancer treatments.

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MYTH: Meditation doesn't benefit patients beyond stress relief.

It's well known that meditation can help people relax, which is important for people who've been diagnosed with lung cancer. However, the breathing techniques learned through regular meditation can actually help lung cancer patients to reduce the rate at which they lose lung function.

MYTH: Very few herbal supplements are used in alternative treatment for lung cancer.

Numerous herbal supplements may be recommended to lung cancer patients to reduce pain, ease symptoms and promote a healthier state of mind. Some of the most commonly used herbal supplements include astragalus, nan sha shen, gan cao, asparagus root, poria and oldenlandia diffusa.

MYTH: Acupuncture helps mostly with relaxation.

Acupuncture is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, and its benefits range from relaxation to pain relief to helping people with depression -- all of which are important for people who are coping with lung cancer. For people going through lung cancer treatment, this alternative therapy can reduce the side effects from chemotherapy while also lessening pain.

MYTH: Aromatherapy isn't backed by any kind of research.

The National Cancer Institute found that aromatherapy seems to positively affect people who are undergoing cancer treatment. The key benefits appear to be in reducing stress and anxiety.

MYTH: Massage is good for relaxation, but not pain relief.

Regular massages can help relieve pain in people who suffer from lung cancer. That's because cancerous tissues in the lungs often cause muscular pain or nerve pain in the shoulders, neck and torso. Massage can relax these muscles and reduce discomfort.

MYTH: Hypnosis has no use for people with lung cancer.

Some people undergo hypnosis as a means to help them heighten their focus and overcome anxiety other unpleasant symptoms of lung cancer, chemotherapy and pain from surgery.

MYTH: The use of cannabinoids is still stigmatized in the medical community.

Cannabinoids are proving increasingly useful for the treatment of various ailments. For people with lung cancer, cannabinoids can reduce pain and boost the body's central nervous system. These chemicals can also help the body fight off infections and other diseases. So far, cannabinoids can be legally used for medical purposes in half of the United States.

MYTH: Dieting can't help people with lung cancer.

Although eating a healthy diet doesn't impact lung cancer directly, people who are going through cancer treatment are likely to experience fewer side effects if they maintain healthy body weights while getting the right nutrients. Unlike regular dieting, though, cancer patients must focus on eating enough calories to offset the impacts of chemotherapy and other treatments.