Important warning for cancer patients: some herbal products are harmful to the treatment

Discourses like “The one I know tried and got better”, “There is a plant like this, it sounds very good” spreads from ear to ear, and sometimes even various mixtures released by non-experts circulate from hand to hand . These extremely harmful directions can cause disruptions in the treatment of the disease, interact with oncological drugs and harm the process. However, in many studies it is known to everyone how much methods such as reflexology, massage, aromatherapy and yoga contribute to the treatment of cancer.

prof. dr. Sadi Kerem Okutur provided information on alternative methods that are in demand in society and that may harm or support cancer treatment because of Cancer Week from 1-7 April.

Herbal products such as curcumin, aloe vera, ginseng, reishi can interact with medications.

Herbal treatments known as phytotherapy attract a lot of attention in the society. Because people believe that the cure for every disease exists in nature. In this case, the situations that fuel this belief prompt patients to search for an elixir for each illness. It should be such a mixture that the patient should be cured in an instant when consumed. Unfortunately, this belief is incompatible with the realities of life and medicine. First of all, none of these products are “drugs” and are referred to as “supplements” in the Food Code; that is, they have no therapeutic properties for any disease or medical condition. Products such as curcumin, aloe vera, ginseng and reishi that are taken without informing the oncology doctor, especially in patients treated with chemotherapy, smart drugs or hormonal treatment, can reduce the effects of drugs and sometimes increase their side effects. Almost all of these herbal products interact with enzymes in the liver called “cytochrome enzymes” that remove or render effective drugs used to treat cancer from the body. This mutual influence can cause dangerous side effects or make cancer treatment ineffective. Regardless of the condition, if the patient has such a request, he should definitely report it to the oncology doctor who follows him.

Get to know reflexology, massage, aromatherapy, yoga and art!

There are several methods known to increase the quality of life in the cancer treatment process. For example, reflexology, massage and aromatherapy are just some of them. Today, these methods are known to relieve even normal, healthy individuals physically and mentally, and have been proven by numerous studies to reduce some of the complaints of cancer patients and contribute to their quality of life. Likewise, yoga is one of the most researched methods. It includes physical stretch relaxation methods and some kind of meditation. It has also been scientifically proven that the application of these methods increases the quality of life of cancer patients and gives them a sense of well-being. In addition, art such as painting and ceramics play an important role in increasing the motivation of cancer patients.

It is very important to make patients aware.

All of these methods should be viewed as complementary practices that enhance quality of life and support adherence or recovery. In addition, it will be helpful for oncology specialists to educate their patients about complementary medicine and prepare them for the difficulties they may encounter, while also suggesting that they integrate useful methods into their lives.

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