- How is bladder cancer treated?
- Surgery for bladder cancer
- Intravesical therapy for bladder cancer
- Chemotherapy for bladder cancer
- Radiation therapy for bladder cancer
- Clinical trials for bladder cancer
- Complementary and alternative therapies for bladder cancer
- Treatment of bladder cancer by stage
- More treatment information about bladder cancer
Complementary and alternative therapies for bladder cancer
When you have bladder cancer you are likely to hear about ways to treat your cancer or relieve symptoms that your doctor hasn’t mentioned. Everyone from friends and family to Internet groups and websites may offer ideas for what might help you. These methods can include vitamins, herbs, and special diets, or other methods such as acupuncture or massage, to name a few.
What exactly are complementary and alternative therapies?
Not everyone uses these terms the same way, and they are used to refer to many different methods, so it can be confusing. We use complementary to refer to treatments that are used along with your regular medical care. Alternative treatments are used instead of a doctor’s medical treatment.
Complementary methods: Most complementary treatment methods are not offered as cures for cancer. Mainly, they are used to help you feel better. Some methods that are used along with regular treatment are meditation to reduce stress, acupuncture to help relieve pain, or peppermint tea to relieve nausea. Some complementary methods are known to help, while others have not been tested. Some have been proven not be helpful, and a few have even been found harmful.
Alternative treatments: Alternative treatments may be offered as cancer cures. These treatments have not been proven safe and effective in clinical trials. Some of these methods may pose danger, or have life-threatening side effects. But the biggest danger in most cases is that you may lose the chance to be helped by standard medical treatment. Delays or interruptions in your medical treatments might give the cancer more time to grow and make it less likely that treatment will help.
Finding out more
It is easy to see why people with cancer think about alternative methods. You want to do all you can to fight the cancer, and the idea of a treatment with few or no side effects sounds great. Sometimes medical treatments like chemotherapy can be hard to take, or they may no longer be working. But the truth is that most of these alternative methods have not been tested and proven to work in treating cancer.
As you consider your options, here are 3 important steps you can take:
- Look for “red flags” that suggest fraud. Does the method promise to cure all or most cancers? Are you told not to have regular medical treatments? Is the treatment a “secret” that requires you to visit certain providers or travel to another country?
- Talk to your doctor or nurse about any method you are thinking about using.
- Contact us at 1-800-227-2345 or read our document, Complementary and Alternative Methods and Cancer to learn more about complementary and alternative methods. You can also find out about the specific methods you’re looking at by calling us or going to the Complementary and Alternative Medicine section of our website.
The choice is yours
Decisions about how to treat or manage your cancer are always yours to make. If you want to use a non-standard treatment, learn all you can about the method and discuss it with your doctor. With good information and the support of your health care team, you may be able to safely use the methods that can help you while avoiding those that could be harmful.
Last Medical Review: 02/26/2014
Last Revised: 02/26/2014