Cancer and Chiropractic

This section was compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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Chiropractic Research Results for Cancer

Chiropractic and Cancer PowerPoint Presentation
A Chiro.Org Comment

This is a presentation I prepared for a local cancer support group. I have removed the portions that personalized it to me, so you will need to add your own identifying information at the front or back of the presentation.

Patients with Cancer. Is There a Role for Chiropractic?
J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2020 (Apr); 64 (1): 32-42 ~ FULL TEXT

Chiropractors treat patients who have cancer, seeking care mainly for neuro-musculoskeletal complaints. Advertising is not considered viable due to potential for adverse interpretation. Further research is necessary regarding initially how chiropractic could gather data about the relative safety and risks of chiropractic care in such patients. Chiropractors need to establish better inter-professional relationships with the patient’s medical and rehabilitation team. It is important to send a clear message that chiropractors do not cure cancer but only aim to help with the neuro- musculoskeletal signs and symptoms. Therefore, construction and publication of consensus-based guidelines of best practice should be considered a priority.

Breast Cancer and Chiropractic
ACANews ~ October 2015 ~ FULL TEXT

Well known celebrities discussing their personal challenges with breast cancer has led to frequent media coverage. Primarily, the focus is on the oncological decisions regarding treatment: whether to have radical surgery along with chemo and radiation, just radiation or take a holistic approach. However, there isn’t much attention drawn to Quality of Life (QoL) factors that parallel the breast cancer patient experience.

Chiropractic in an Integrative Cancer Center
An Interview with Jeffrey A. Sklar, DC

As part of our continuing series of interviews with chiropractors who work in integrative settings, we visit Jeffrey Sklar, DC, a full-time staff chiropractor with Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Sklar, who previously co-founded an integrative wellness center, has been with CTCA since 2009.

Chiropractic Management of a Patient With Breast Cancer
Metastases to the Brain and Spine: A Case Report

J Can Chiropr Assoc 2015 (Sep); 59 (3): 269–278 ~ FULL TEXT

Cancers of the breast, kidney, lungs, prostate and thyroid metastasize to the musculoskeletal system in the majority of patients with malignancy. This report chronicles the case of a 65-year-old female with a known history of breast cancer who presented to a chiropractic clinic. Once metastasis was ruled out as the cause of her complaint, the patient was treated with manual therapies and exercises. As the patient's treatments progressed and her pain improved, she presented with a new complaint of 'pressure' in her head. Advanced imaging revealed metastasis to the brain and subsequently to the spine. The aim of this case is to heighten awareness of the presentation of metastasis to the brain and the spine in a chiropractic patient, and to demonstrate the benefit of chiropractic care in the management of such patients.

The Chiropractic Care of Patients with Cancer:
A Systematic Review of the Literature

Integrative Cancer Therapies 2012 (Dec); 11 (4): 304–312 ~ FULL TEXT

Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 7.4 million deaths in 2004. By 2030, deaths from cancer have been estimated at 12 million with 30% being preventable. Complementary and alternative medicine remains popular among cancer patients; particularly with chiropractic services. However, the nature of the chiropractic clinical encounter and its reported benefits remains to be fully investigated. Towards these efforts, we begin with a systematic review of the literature on the chiropractic care of patients with cancer.

Chiropractic and Cancer Care   (PDF)
Cancer Fighters Thrive ~ Winter 2011

Find out more about how chiropractic care can help to support cancer patients in an integrative care setting.

Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Use Among Childhood Cancer Survivors
With Chronic Disease: Impact on Health-related Quality of Life

J Cancer Surviv. 2011 (Mar); 5 (1): 73–81

The use of rehabilitation services to address musculoskeletal, neurological and cardiovascular late effects among childhood cancer survivors could improve physical function and health-related quality-of-life (HRQL). We describe physical therapy (PT) and chiropractic utilization among childhood cancer survivors and their association with HRQL.

Alternatives in Cancer Pain Treatment:
The Application of Chiropractic Care

Semin Oncol Nurs 2005 (Aug); 21 (3): 184–189

The judicial use of chiropractic services in cancer patients appears to offer many economical and effective strategies for reducing the pain and suffering of cancer patients, as well as providing the potential to improve patient health overall.
You'll find more articles like this in the Pain Management Page.

Chronic Pain in Persons With Neuromuscular Disease
Clin J Pain 2005 (Jan); 21 (1): 18–26

In this paper, researchers in a medical school rehabilitation department were interested in finding out what treatments were most effective at reducing pain for neuromuscular diseases (like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and myotonic muscular dystrophies). Interestingly, chiropractic scored the highest pain relief rating (7.33 out of 10), scoring higher than the relief provided by either nerve blocks (6.75) or opioid analgesics (6.37).

The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medical Providers
by Insured Cancer Patients in Washington State

Cancer 2004 (Apr 1); 100 (7): 1522–1530

Musculoskeletal pain was the most common diagnosis at the CAM provider visit. Billed amounts for alternative services were <2% of the overall medical bills for cancer patients. A substantial number of insured cancer patients will use alternative providers if they are given the choice. The cost of this treatment is modest compared with conventional care charges. For individuals with cancer, CAM providers do not appear to be replacing conventional providers but instead are integrated into overall care.

The Chiropractor's Role in Pain Management for Oncology Patients
J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2001 (Jan); 24 (1): 52–57 ~ FULL TEXT

This article describes the potential benefits of chiropractic for cancer patients in the area of pain management and quality of life. Two specific case studies are presented in which cancer patients' quality of life benefited from chiropractic treatment.


Other Management Approaches for Cancer

The Cancer and Nutrition Page
A Chiro.Org article collection

This compilation in the Nutrition Section details the impact of a variety of substances from Co-Q10 to Vitamin E on cancer.

Nutritional Support for Chronic Myelogenous and Other Leukemias:
A Review of the Scientific Literature
Alternative Medicine Review 2002 (Oct); 7 (5): 404–409 ~ FULL TEXT

Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) is a slowly progressive disease characterized by the overproduction of granulocytes (neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils). A blood smear shows moderate elevations in white blood cell counts that may persist for years and be benign. Platelets are increased in number, although their function is impaired, resulting in symptoms of easy bleeding (purpura, swollen gums). Conventional medical treatment is a marrow transplant and alkylating agents, which are usually prescribed only during crisis. Several nutrients and botanicals have been studied for use in CML, including vitamin A and all-trans retinoic acid (Retin-A), vitamin D3, vitamin E, vitamin B12, indirubin (found in herbs including Indigofera tinctoria and Isatis tinctoria), and Curcuma longa. This article briefly reviews the scientific literature on the therapeutic use of these nutrients for CML.

Natural Agents in the Prevention of Cancer Series
Data exist in the scientific literature showing reduction in the risk of tumor occurrence achieved by the use of nutritional and other natural materials. However, many trials that have attempted to prevent cancer occurrence with nutritional supplementation have found no effect or even increased tumor incidence. Several factors appear to be responsible for these disparate data, including the forms of nutrients used and the types of cancer being studied.

   Part I: Human Chemoprevention Trials
Alternative Medicine Review 2001 (Feb);   6 (1):   7–19 ~ FULL TEXT

The battle against cancer has been waged for several decades without resounding curative success from the use of chemotherapy or radiotherapy in most common solid tumors. (1) Much of the present day research directed against active malignancy has shifted toward identification of strategies affecting the growth rate or apoptosis of such cells so that life with cancer can be greatly extended without the deleterious effects of the more aggressive therapies. The large majority of malignancies are attributable to dietary and lifestyle factors. (2) In addition there are many environmental chemical factors suspected of playing a sizable role in the occurrence of malignancies. (3) Given the poor success rate for treatment of most common tumors, it seems logical to focus attention on ways to prevent cancer occurrence.

   Part II: Preclinical Data and Chemoprevention for Common Cancers
Alternative Medicine Review 2001 (Apr);   6 (2):   167–187 ~ FULL TEXT

In the present paper the mechanisms of action of promising treatments will be discussed. In vitro and animal data are presented in support of the agents as appropriate. The subject of chemoprevention with nutritional agents has been the subject of voluminous research, and this review should not be considered exhaustive. In cases where review articles already exist regarding a particular agent (e.g., vitamin A, beta-carotene), these papers should be consulted for a more complete summary.

Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Extract and Its Possible Role
in the Prevention of Cancer
Alternative Medicine Review 1999 (Oct); 4 (5): 360–370 ~ FULL TEXT

The American Cancer Society estimates that in the 1980s more than 4. 5 million Americans died of cancer. In addition, there were nearly nine million new cases and about 12 million people were under medical care for cancer. With cancer being the second most common cause of death in the United States population, the possibility that readily-available natural substances may be beneficial in the prevention of cancer warrants closer examination. A growing body of research has demonstrated green tea polyphenols to be powerful antioxidants with anticarcinogenic properties. These polyphenolic compounds, specifically the catechins epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin (EGC), and epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), which account for 30-40 percent of the extractable solids of green tea leaves, are believed to mediate many of the cancer chemopreventive effects. Mechanisms of action may include antioxidant and free-radical scavenging activity, and stimulation of detoxification systems through selective induction or modification of phase I and phase II metabolic enzymes.

Antioxidants and Cancer Therapy
Evidence reviewed here demonstrates exogenous antioxidants alone produce beneficial effects in various cancers, and except for a few specific cases, animal and human studies demonstrate no reduction of efficacy of chemotherapy or radiation when given with antioxidants. In fact, considerable data exists showing increased effectiveness of many cancer therapeutic agents, as well as a decrease in adverse effects, when given concurrently with antioxidants.

   Part I: Their Actions and Interactions With Oncologic Therapies
Alternative Medicine Review 1999 (Oct); 4 (5): 304–329 ~ FULL TEXT

Dietary and endogenous antioxidants prevent cellular damage by reacting with and eliminating oxidizing free radicals. However, in cancer treatment, a mode of action of certain chemotherapeutic agents involves the generation of free radicals to cause cellular damage and necrosis of malignant cells. So a concern has logically developed as to whether exogenous antioxidant compounds taken concurrently during chemotherapy could reduce the beneficial effect of chemotherapy on malignant cells. The importance of this concern is underlined by a recent study which estimates 23 percent of cancer patients take antioxidants.

   Part II: Quick Reference Guide
Alternative Medicine Review 2000 (Apr); 5 (2): 152–163 ~ FULL TEXT

This guide is meant to be a companion to the previous review on effects of antioxidant supplementation during cancer therapy. (1) Widespread use of antioxidant compounds makes this an area of increasing interest to oncologists as well as other physicians; hence, the attempt to reduce the findings of a lengthy report to a manageable guide.

   Part III: Quercetin
Alternative Medicine Review 2000 (Jun); 5 (3): 196–204 ~ FULL TEXT

Quercetin is the major bioflavonoid in the human diet. The estimated average daily dietary intake of quercetin by an individual in the United States is 25 mg. (3) Its reputation as an antioxidant stems from the reactivity of phenolic compounds with free radical species to form phenoxy radicals which are considerably less reactive. Additionally, one can envision a polyphenolic compound easily oxidizable to a quinoid form (similar to vitamin K) and participating in the redox chemistry of nature.

Ascorbic Acid in the Prevention and Treatment of Cancer
Alternative Medicine Review 1998 (Jun); 3 (3): 174–186 ~ FULL TEXT

Proposed mechanisms of action for ascorbic acid (ascorbate, vitamin C) in the prevention and treatment of cancer include enhancement of the immune system, stimulation of collagen formation necessary for "walling off" tumors, inhibition of hyaluronidase which keeps the ground substance around the tumor intact and prevents metastasis, prevention of oncogenic viruses, correction of an ascorbate deficiency often seen in cancer patients, expedition of wound healing after cancer surgery, enhancement of the effect of certain chemotherapy drugs, reduction of the toxicity of other chemotherapeutic agents such as Adriamycin, prevention of free radical damage, and neutralization of carcinogenic substances.

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