Cancer : What is it and how it occurs?
Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of the cells in the body. The cells in the body have the prefixed span of life. Normally, as the cell ages, it undergoes a process of programmed cell death, called as apoptosis, which is controlled by the genetic material (DNA) present in the nucleus of each cell. The genes which can produce cancer (oncogenes) are also present normally in the cells but in inactive form, which get triggered off by various factors like smoking.
Due to some reasons, the genes controlling the cell death are altered (by process called mutation), the cell gains ability to multiply without any control. This multiplication leads to formation of tumour. These tumours, which invade the surrounding tissues, are known as the malignant tumours which are also better known as cancers. It can affect body parts like bones, liver, breast, prostate, lungs, stomach, intestines, skin, blood (leukaemia) etc. The mutation which leads to carcinomatous changes can occur due to many risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, viral infections, immune-suppression, exposure to radiations etc.
The cancer invades the surrounding tissues by infiltration and also spread into distant sites producing secondary tumors at other organs than the organ of origin via blood or lymphatic drainage (metastasis). Once the cancer sets in the body, it interferes by affecting the normal functioning of the particular organ and thereby disturbing functioning the whole body functioning. Early detection can bring better control as the spread can be limited. In advanced disease, many organs/systems get involved due to secondary spread of the cancerous cells. This impairs the body functioning producing the wide range of symptoms.
It depends upon the site and extent of the tumour. It mainly Cancer is a word that threatens everybody in the world. Even after the recent developments in the medical sciences, cancer of all binds still is the largest killer among the diseases, followed by heart diseases. A person having cancer not only suffers from the physical symptoms, but also has to face psychological stress of having this deadly disease. The administration of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery produce many harmful side effects. There has been a recent trend of following Nature Cure and Yoga among patients with cancer for a healthier life. Let us try to understand what happens in cancer and how Natural Therapeutics and Yoga can be of help to cancer patients. Here I am not trying to explain the curative effect of Naturopathy and Yoga in cancer treatment, but only introducing the relevance of Naturopathy and Yoga for improving the quality of life of cancer patients under conventional treatment includes the surgical removal of tumours, which is the oldest of the treatment modality. Along with it, the chemotherapy (using drugs) and the radiotherapy (using radiations) to destroy the cancer cells. The problem with both these therapies is that, along with the cancer cells, the surrounding normal cells are also destroyed. The drugs used for chemo and the radiations have toxic effects and produce many annoying side effects mainly enervation, pain, abnormal sensations, hair fall, nausea, vomiting, anaemia, weakness, etc. Surgery has side effects like delayed wound healing, infections etc. Along with all this, the person undergoing treatment for cancer and the family members also face the psychological stress. Hence it becomes essential to use the Natural Therapeutics and Yoga for cancer patients under conventional care. This article tries to summarize the available scientific knowledge about the use of Nature Cure and Yoga for prevention of cancer which can be a great add on to the conventional treatment to reduce its side effects and to improve the quality of living in cancer patients.
Role of Nature cure and Yoga in prevention of cancer
As discussed earlier, there are many factors which can trigger the formation of cancer. Leading a natural life can be of great use to reduce the risk of developing cancer itself. Avoiding smoking itself reduces the risk of development of cancer by great extent, Yoga and Nature Cure can help to quit smoking and alcohol in people who are addicted to it. Studies show that, Americans are prone to get the cancer of colon (intestines) due to their faulty dietary habits. Hence a natural diet can now be used for preventing the cancers. Yoga can tackle the stress, which was one of the hidden factors behind the genesis of cancer.
Role of Nature Cure and Yoga as an add on for cancer management
Number of research studies today show that Nature Cure and Yoga can be successfully used as add on to the conventional treatments. They reduce the stress, improve quality of living and help in reducing the distressing symptoms of the chemo/radiotherapy. Let us now discuss components of Natural Methods of treatment and Yoga on cancer.
Food is an essential component which influences the status of human health and disease. More and more diseases are now related to nutritional status of the human being. Today there are studies stating the co-relation between diet and cancer as mentioned earlier.
While considering the nutrition for cancer patients, one should take care of the nutrition during the conventional treatment and after it. Surgery, chemo and radiotherapy changes the nutritional needs of an individual. A healthy diet can meet the nutritional demands of the individual. The American Cancer Society suggests consuming Vegetarian diet and regular physical activity, to avoid high fatty substances and alcohol in order to prevent as well as to reach the nutritional requirements during cancer. Wheat grass juice has shown beneficial effects for cancer clinically, even though there are no research studies to prove this.
Yoga, the art from the ancient Indian culture, today is utilized as a scientific modality to help cancer patients, especially along with the conventional treatments. There are many studies conducted on the role of Yoga on the cancer patients, which show that Yoga not only helps to reduce psychological stress, anxiety, depression but it also improves mood of the patient, enhances the immunity, helps to heal the wound of the surgery faster and also to reduce the complications of chemo/radiotherapy. So a combination of simple Asanas, Pranayama and relaxation techniques can help the cancer patient greatly.
Acupressure / Acupuncture
Acupuncture and acupressure are found to be one of the most effective means to alleviate the complications of chemotherapy like neuralgic pain, nausea and vomiting. The stimulation of’P6’one of the acupuncture points on the wrist has shown to be extremely effective in combating the nausea and vomiting along with the usual antiemetic drugs.
Massage has been found to improve the mood of the patient, reduce the pain. It is generally not employed over the part where pain is present. Massage also helps to manually drain the lymph edema in patients getting treated for breast cancer. As of now, there has been no evidence to show the involvement of massage leading to spread of cancer.
Therapist should avoid massage over the area where presence of tumor is known. Avoid Massage and Acupuncture in patients with Thrombocytopenia or who are undergoing Anticoagulant Therapy.
Hydrotherapeutic measures have been found effective in combating the side effects of chemotherapy like nausea and vomiting. It also helps to reduce the pain which is induced due to cancer and treatment of cancer. It also helps in reducing the anxiety of the patients.
Nature Cure and Yogic treatments can be of great help to minimize the symptoms produced due to cancer and as side effects of the conventional treatment. Hence I conclude stating that the Nature cure and Yoga is of great help to cancer patients as an add on to the conventional treatments. The harmful effects of the chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery can be minimized by the use of these natural treatments. But one must consult an expert before undergoing the treatments.