Complementary and alternative mesothelioma therapies are a number of products, practices, and systems that are used to treat mesothelioma and are not part of conventional medical treatment.
They can include things like herbs and dietary supplements, body movement, spiritual approaches, pills, extracts, and creams or ointments. Some are done by a person with formal education and training, such as art therapy. Others may be recommended by the person who is selling the product in a store or on the Internet, such as herbs or other dietary supplements.
The methods can involve everything from enemas, like colon therapy, to no-touch "energy work" . Some are very expensive and time consuming, like the use of strict diets or traveling to far countries, mainly in Asia for special treatments. Others are fairly cheap and easy to use, like vitamins or homeopathy.
Some can be done at home on your own, such as meditation and prayer, and others require another person to give them, like massage or acupuncture. Some are not harmful but some other ones are actually dangerous and have caused deaths.
You may hear about one or more of these treatments from friends, family, co-workers, salespeople, and others. The treatment may be something you've never heard of before, and it can be hard to get good, unbiased information about it.
Generally speaking, alternative medicine is used instead of standard or mainstream medical treatment, often with serious outcomes for the patient, while complementary medicine is used along with mainstream medical care. If carefully chosen and properly used, some of these can improve your quality of life
Here are some good questions to ask about alternative or complementary treatments that will give you some ideas about how to look at these methods and help you decide what you think about what might be best for you:
-What claims are made for the treatment? Is it supposed to help your medical treatment work better or relieve symptoms or side effects? Does it claim to cure mesothelioma cancer?
-What are the credentials of those supporting the treatment? Are they recognized experts in cancer and complementary medicine? If you will be seeing a complementary / alternative practitioner, check out their educational background and training.
-Have scientific studies or clinical trials (tests in human volunteers) been done on this type of alternative treatment?
-Have the findings from the studies been published in trustworthy journals after being reviewed by other scientists in the same field?
-How is information about the method spreading? Is it promoted only through the use of general mass media, such as books, magazines, the Internet, TV, infomercials, and radio talk shows rather than in scientific journals?
-What is the cost of the treatment? Can your health insurance policy cover this treatment?
-Is the method widely accepted within the health care community?
-What is the safety profile of this treatment? What are the likely side effects and at what level of dosage will these side effects start showing up? Is it safe to use this type of treatment with other anti mesothelioma cancer drugs and therapies?
-Will you have to stop your conventional medical treatment to be able to use this therapy? If so, will doing so affect your chances for cure?
-Is the mesothelioma cancer likely to become more advanced during the delay?
-Does the treatment promise to cure for all cancers and other serious illnesses? Be suspicious of claims that any unconventional treatment can cure cancer. Claims that a treatment can cure all cancers, or that it can cure cancer and other hard-to-treat diseases (such as chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, etc.) are certain to be fraudulent.
-Is the treatment or drug a secret that only certain people can give? If so the treatment is likely to be a scam.
-Is the treatment or drug offered by only one person or only one clinic? Keep in mind that once a treatment is found to be helpful, it should most likely be used by other qualified professionals. Treatments that are only available in one clinic, especially if it's located in a country with less patient protection than the United States or the European Union are usually false claims.
-Does the treatment require that you travel to another country?
-Do the promoters use terms like "scientific breakthrough," "miracle cure," "secret ingredient," or "ancient remedy"? If they do then the therapy is likely fraudulent.
-Do the promoters of the drug give personal stories of amazing results, but no actual scientific evidence? They are likely to be fraudulent.
-Do the promoters attack the medical or scientific community?
-Does the drug have side effects? If the drug is been promoted as a wonder drug with no side effects, then it is likely to be fraudulent therapy. Even herbs and vitamins have side effects. If the treatment is marketed as having no side effects, it has not likely been studied in rigorous clinical trials, where side effects would be seen.
If you suspect fraud, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA is listed in the blue pages of the phone book under "US Government." Look under the heading, "Health and Human Services." Or visit their Web site at www.fda.gov.
Many insurance companies are starting to cover some of the more widely accepted complementary methods of treatment. Many major insurers, including Blue Cross and Medicare, cover one or more complementary methods of treatment. Acupuncture and chiropractic therapy are the ones most often covered. Contact your insurance company to find out what services are covered by your plan.