Many neuroendocrine cancer and Carcinoid patients choose to use complementary therapies in addition to their traditional treatments to help with symptom relief and general well-being. While there is little traditional data to suggest any of these things can be curative, many of these remedies have been used for a very long time. We suggest before trying any of the treatments below that you consult your general practitioner and your oncologist. If you are lucky enough to live in an area with a naturopathic doctor that specializes with cancer patients, they would be an excellent choice to consult based on your symptoms.
Please note: We are not doctors, but, we try to provide ideas and options to patients like ourselves.
Integrative Oncology Guidelines
Here you will find an article by the Society of Integrative Oncology that details all their Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines for Integrative Oncology: Complementary Therapies and Botanicals.
MD Anderson Integrative Medicine Video Presentation
Dr. Lorenzo Cohen, the director of MD Anderson has a wonderful video discussing the different aspects of integrative medicine on improving outcomes in oncology. A must see!
Below of some of the supplements people like to incorporate with their daily routines.
AHCC (Active Hexose Correlated Compound)
AHCC is a compound made from a strong medicinal, yet commonly eaten mushroom, known as Shitake, that is taken in capsule form. AHCC is commonly used in Japan as a complementary treatment for cancer patients. AHCC is used to help bolster the immune system, and has shown to help reduce the effects of chemo. Visit this site for more information about AHCC.
Black Raspberry Powder
A treatment that is recommended by some of the carcinoid speciliasts. Black Raspberry Powder is believed to be a natural angiogenesis inhibitor. Angiogenesis is an important and necessary process for healing where blood vessels grow and regenerate. In many cases however, like cancer, there can be an over abundance of angiogenesis, eg. blood vessels forming and creating a supply to tumors. Some carcinoid patients use BRP as a way to help control the all-too-common symptom of diarrhea. Carcinoid patient, Lucey Wiley has a great video available on Youtube about this.There are a number of studies that have been published about the use of this product.
Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN)
This is a prescription drug that is used off-label. Naltrexone is a drug that has been safely used for over 30 years. Naltrexone is usually a 50mg pill, with LDN, it is cmpounded into a 4.5mg dose. It is taken once a day before bed. Naltrexone works by blocking the opioid receptors, which is believed to produce a prolonged up-regulation of vital elements of the immune system by causing an increase in endorphin and enkephalin production. Visit this site for more information about LDN.
In traditional Chinese medicine, nutmeg is proclaimed to aid with diarrhea and digestive disorders. Some Carcinoid patients swear by it. It is both antibacterial and antiviral, so it is frequently touted as a pain reliever for mouth pain. There have been some studies suggesting that nutmeg triggers apoptosis, however, the mechanism by which is does is not clear.
Turmeric / Curcumin
The spice that makes Indian curries yellow is turmeric and more importantly, contains curcumin, which has showing up in more studies. Studies show that curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory properties and is being tested in multiple clinical trials alone and in combination with many chemotherapies. Chinese medicine uses Turmeric as a protectant of liver toxicity and an anti-inflammatory. Turmeric can be used in cooking, or quality supplements can be purchased at health food stores or online resources.