Cancer Patients Turn to Alternative Therapies for Pain Management

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New research suggests that electrical neuromodulation may improve cancer patients’ perceptions of pain. Dr. Robert Zieve of EuroMed Foundation, an Arizona cancer center, says this is one of the many options for treating cancer pain.

Alternative pain management therapies for cancer patients are gaining wider acceptance, says Dr. Robert Zieve of EuroMed Foundation, an Arizona cancer center, with research supporting complementary treatments such as electrical nerve stimulation for pain relief.

Research involving reliable pain relief is more common now as cancer patients are living longer with the disease. New devices and pharmaceutical agents are being developed to make pain relief safer and lasting. It is estimated that 1 out of 3 people undergoing cancer treatment experiences cancer pain. If you have advanced cancer — cancer that has spread or recurred — your chance of enduring cancer pain is even higher.

"Often cancer patients are reluctant to use pharmaceutical pain management because they fear addiction and other side effects," says Zieve. "That's why studies involving alternative pain treatments such as neuromodulation, massage, physical therapy, and acupuncture are becoming more common."

Zieve notes that the EuroMed Foundation offers holistic cancer therapy, meaning patients are viewed as a whole person rather than a combination of symptoms. The cancer center employs integrative medicine methodologies that use the best of conventional and alternative cancer therapies. That's especially important when treating cancer pain, says Zieve, because sometimes the pain is caused by conventional treatments used to fight the disease, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

Results of a study published online by the medical journal, Integrative Cancer Therapies, supported the use of neuromodulation to manage cancer-related pain. Neuromodulation involves the electrical stimulation of nerves that control the perception of pain. It is already used as a pain management therapy for people diagnosed with chronic migraine headaches.

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The EuroMed Foundation (http://www.euro-med.us) is a cancer center in Phoenix, Arizona. It specializes in the treatment of cancer using conventional and alternative therapies from around the world. The doctors on staff are all trained in alternative cancer therapies such as Insulin Potentiation Therapy, Hyperthermia, Homeopathic Immune Modulation, Ozone Steam Sauna Therapy and many others.

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Elliott Schmerler, MD
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