Are there alternative treatments for head and neck cancers?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

In addition to conventional therapy with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, alternative treatments are sometimes used for head and neck cancer. None have been shown to reliably cure head and neck cancer, so using alternative treatment as true alternatives that replace conventional therapy is not appropriate. However, using alternative therapy in combination with conventional therapy to complement the standard treatments may be useful to alleviate symptoms of the cancer or side effects of the conventional therapy, and possibly improve the chances of cure. Behavioral and psychological therapy such as hypnosis, imagery, and meditation, often improve many of the side effects of chemotherapy and may also have an anticancer effect. Dietary treatments may have particular benefit in head and neck cancers because individuals with these cancers often have poor nutrition. Green tea may be a particularly useful therapy for mouth cancer, as research has shown that it can directly kill mouth cancer cells.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.