Natural-Medicine-for-Chemo-Patients-300x195Chemotherapy as a treatment for cancer got its start in the 1940s and has proven to be an effective way of fighting some forms of the disease. It was revolutionary when it was first used for leukemia treatment in children, since childhood leukemia was widely considered even among medical doctors to be incurable at the time.

Chemotherapy has progressed and undergone many refinements since its discovery and has undoubtedly saved many lives over the decades. But even as chemotherapy attacks cancer cells, it also adversely affects many normal cells, causing side effects that often make it a difficult kind of cancer treatment for the human body and the human spirit to bear.

Understanding just how and why chemotherapy works in the treatment of cancer helps to explain the serious adverse side effects that it can cause. Cancers occur when cells multiply out of control. The compounds used in chemotherapy do their job by interfering with cancer cells’ ability to reproduce themselves. Chemicals that rein in cell division are especially effective against types of cancer that are characterized by rapidly dividing cells, such as some forms of leukemia and lymphoma.

Unfortunately, chemotherapy also harms some healthy, normal cells that divide frequently as part of their normal functioning. The cells in human hair follicles are good examples of that, and damage done to them during chemotherapy is what causes the well-known side effect of temporary hair loss or thinning. Other possible unpleasant, inconvenient or even dangerous side effects of chemotherapy include:

  • Fatigue, often on top of fatigue and weakness caused by the cancer itself
  • Reduced immune system function, causing greater vulnerability to infections
  • Damage to the heart, liver or kidneys
  • Pain or paralysis
  • Excessive bleeding from cuts or even bleeding gums from brushing teeth
  • Anemia, which can cause tiredness and a pale, unhealthy appearance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sores in the mouth and throat
  • Skin problems – redness, dryness, itching
  • Damage to fingernails and toenails
  • Loss of libido
  • Difficulty with thinking and memory, also called “chemo brain” or “chemo fog”
  • Dizziness
  • Stress and anxiety

Naturopathic medicine can alleviate some of the side effects of chemotherapy and provide support to the body during and after treatment, because naturopathic doctors seek to treat the whole person, not just a cancer or a tumor. Cancer patients from around the country and around the world have come to Scottsdale naturopathic physician Dr. Paul Stallone for patient-centered, whole-person care to complement the narrowly focused cancer treatment that mainstream medicine often offers.

If you or a loved one are undergoing a chemotherapy regime and feel that something is missing from the care you are currently receiving, contact Dr. Stallone at the Arizona Integrative Medical Center. Make an appointment today by calling .

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