Brain cancer refers to the abnormal growth of the cells within the brain. The brain consists of different types of cells and tissues which control and execute innumerable functions in our body. Brain cancer can lead to destruction of cells directly or can lead to compression of the adjacent structures resulting in certain physical or mental deformities.
Noted both in adults and children, brain cancer can occur due to a number of causes. However, the exact cause of occurrence is not known and factors such as heredity, head injury, exposure to harmful radiation and hormone replacement therapy have all been proposed to have certain role in the occurrence of brain cancer.
While some of the cancers are more commonly observed in adults between the ages 40-70 years, others are more common in women. The pace in which the cancer progress varies quite widely and it may at times progress very rapidly.
Diagnosis and Conventional Treatment
Brain cancer is associated with a multitude of symptoms based on the location of the cancer. The diagnosis of brain cancer is based on a comprehensive review of the signs and symptoms observed and certain specialised diagnostic tests such as computed tomography (CT) scan, electroencephalography (EEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and biopsy of the cancer cells.
The conventional treatment methods include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The outcome is considered to be good when the cancer is detected during its early stages. Complete surgical removal of the cancerous tissues may not be possible in all instances and radiotherapy or chemotherapy may be advised concomitantly.
A number of alternative therapies have been tried for treating brain cancer. However, it must be remembered that conventional treatments remain the mainstay of all cancer treatments. Alternative therapies may offer symptomatic relief and prevent the occurrence of cancer in some instances. Some of the widely used alternative treatment options have been discussed below.
A wide range of herbal products are available as alternative therapies for brain cancer. Budwig diet has been considered as an excellent alternative cancer treatment and is followed based on Cellect-Budwig protocol and the Bill Henderson protocol. Both these protocols are supposed to become effective at a rapid pace. Cesium Chloride/Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO) protocol is another option which is proposed to kill the cancer cells and improve the health of individuals suffering from brain cancer.
Some of the other supplements that may also have beneficial results in individuals with brain cancer include: dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), oxygen elements plus, vitalzym and barley power. These herbal products have different ingredients which specifically target the cancer cells and either delay their progress or completely destroy them without hampering the normal healthy cells and tissues. Furthermore, herbal juices known as Brandt Grape Cure and Noni juice have also been found to be beneficial in preventing and reducing the growth of cancer cells in many individuals.
Recently a study in Spain suggested that a substance known as THC which is an active ingredient in marijuana caused self destruction of the cancer cells. The study was conducted both on animals and also on humans. Although this may be an important finding, further research is required to substantiate the claims and establish the efficacy and safety of this substance.
Vitamin supplements such as beta carotene, selenium, vitamin C, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and vitamin E may have certain beneficial effects in individuals suffering from different types of cancer. Vitamins are some of the essential nutrients in the body and adequate levels of these help in fighting numerous disorders.
High-fat, low-carbohydrate diets are commercially available. One such product known as Ketocal is frequently used to treat children suffering from epilepsy. The efficacy of this product on brain cancer was studied using animal models. It was noted that this product significantly decreased the growth of brain cancer cells in the animals. Furthermore, this diet also enhanced the health of the animals and improved survival rates. Although further studies are required to substantiate its efficacy in humans, the study promises a definite relief to brain cancer victims.
Healthy mind leads to a healthy body. Cancer victims undergo a huge amount of mental stress and psychological trauma. Additionally the conventional treatment modalities exert some adverse effects which make the individuals with brain cancer suffer to a larger extent. Adequate support is necessary for such individuals in order to cope to the treatments being administered.
The therapeutic options that are available include: behavioural therapy, counselling sessions and relaxation therapies such as yoga. These options help the affected individual and his family to understand the basic process of cancer, its treatment and the expected outcomes. A better knowledge helps the affected individuals to be more positive towards life and expect better outcomes from the treatment being performed.
In some instances the brain cancer may affect the parts of the brain that control muscle coordination, movements of the hands and legs, speech, vision and thinking. Rehabilitation therapy is needed in such instances in order to help the affected individuals to recover these functions. The options include cognitive therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy and vocational therapy.
Cognitive therapy helps one to regain the lost abilities such as thinking, analysing and performing in different situations. Speech therapy aims at improving the speaking skills that may have been affected due to the cancer. This method is especially useful in children. In some cases the affected individuals lose the ability to move the fingers which may make it difficult for them to grasp objects and even have food.
Physical therapy is advised in such individuals to improve the muscle coordination and movement of the arms and legs. Physical therapy also educates the individual about the importance of physical activity in life and helps them to stay fit. Vocational therapy helps the affected individuals to retrain and return to the occupation they were following prior to the occurrence of the brain cancer.
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Other therapeutic options such as acupuncture, massage therapy and meditation may instil belief in the individuals about the positive aspects of life and help them to lead a more comfortable life. Some of these modalities have also been known to reduce the intensity of pain suffered by individuals with cancer and reduce the amount of medications required to counter the symptoms of brain cancer.
Alternative and complementary are not helpful in curing cancers. However, they may have a role in prevention of cancers and in reducing the intensity of symptoms associated with cancers. Conventional treatments are always beneficial in treating the cancers while alternative and complementary therapies act as accomplices which enhance the prognosis of brain cancer.