Standard treatments for bone cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Alternative bone cancer treatment includes nutrition therapy, pain management, mind-body therapies, naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine and acupuncture and spiritual support. Often people use both approaches.

There are three types of bone cancer: Osteosarcoma begins in the osteoid bone tissue; Chondrosarcoma originates in cartilage tissue; and the Ewing Sarcoma family of tumors occurs in bone or soft tissues. Pain is a notable symptom of bone cancer, though not all bone cancers cause symptoms. A number of people may follow traditional treatment for bone cancer and partake of alternative medicine to alleviate symptoms. Check with your physician before trying any alternative treatment. Some can interfere with conventional treatments success and should be avoided.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America, or CTCA, hospitals offering both conventional and alternative bone cancer treatment, the belief is that nutrition is an integral part of treatment. Because standard treatments for bone cancer may deplete the body of essential nutrients, these must be replaced. Both appetite and digestion can also be negatively affected by medical treatments. To develop an individualized plan, CTCA assesses your nutritional needs by using blood tests, medical history, diet profile and nutrition anthropometrics. They encourage healthy eating in the form of poultry, fish, legumes, low-fat yogurt, fruits, vegetables and whole grain cereals. In the way of supplements, the following plus others could be recommended: beta carotene, selenium, vitamin C and EPA. Dietitians and reading materials on nutrition are also available to you during treatment.

The Yin Yang House Acupuncture and Wellness Center is located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and offers a number of complementary medicine practices, including herbal help and acupuncture. An herbal formula listed for help with bone cancer is Kang Zhong Pian, also called TumoclearTM.

Tong Ren (TR) therapy is an untested energy therapy developed by Master Tom Tam, well-known acupuncturist and healer in the Boston area. Because there have been so many positive testimonials from cancer patients as well as other conditions receiving this therapy, a pilot investigation of the Tong Ren method is now underway by professor Amy Sullivan, EdD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, in conjunction with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Approximately 300 people will take part in the study.

The Yin Yang House website reports on a small pilot study done with advanced cancer patients and acupuncture. Reported in the June, 2010 issue of “Integrative Cancer Therapies,” the 32 people participating in the pilot showed improvement in anxiety, fatigue, pain, depression, life satisfaction and mood states after receiving eight weeks of acupuncture. These results held up at 12 weeks. Conclusions were that an eight-week program in acupuncture was feasible for advanced cancer patients and more clinical trials were recommended.

The Cancer Treatment Centers of America acknowledge that cancer treatment can cause physical and emotional issues that need to be managed. Mind-body medicine is based on the field of psychoneuroimmunology, a relatively new field that connects thought and feelings, the brain and the immune system. Types of mind-body assistance offered at CTCA include individual, couples and family counseling; stress management, guided imagery and relaxation training, individual and family support groups, laughter/humor therapy and energy therapies.

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