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Cancer Health Center

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Understanding Cancer -- Diagnosis and Treatment

Exercise and Cancer

Exercise can help control fatigue, muscle tension, and anxiety in those with cancer. Patients tend to feel better if they do exercises such as walking or swimming. Exercise has also been shown to improve the outcomes associated with cancer treatment.

Mind/Body Medicine for Cancer

Some mind/body therapies improve quality of life for cancer patients through behavior modification; others encourage expression of emotions. Behavior therapies such as guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, hypnotherapy, and biofeedback are used to alleviate pain, nausea, vomiting, and the anxiety that may occur in anticipation of, or after, cancer treatment. Individual or group counseling allows patients to confront problems and emotions caused by cancer and receive support from fellow patients in a group setting. Patients who pursue these types of therapies tend to feel less lonely, less anxious about the future, and more optimistic about recovery.

Nutrition, Diet, and Cancer

Scientific evidence suggests that nutrition may play a role in cancer prevention. Observational studies have shown that cancer is more common in some people with certain dietary habits -- such as colorectal cancer in people who have diets rich in meat products. So far, data has not supported the use of any vitamins or supplements to decrease the risk of cancer. In fact, studies show some supplements may increase cancer risk, such as lung cancer risk in smokers taking beta carotene and prostate cancer risk in men taking high doses of vitamin E.

No diet has been shown to slow, reverse, or cure cancer.

Also, experts don't recommend stopping standard treatment in place of complementary medicine, but many therapies can help people with cancer feel better.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture and acupressure are examples of "complementary" medicine for cancer. While neither claims to cure the disease, some evidence shows that they help reduce symptoms and side effects of the illness and its treatment.

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