Holistic vs. Alternative Cancer Treatment

Cancer is an aggressive and dangerous disease that affects millions of people worldwide. During the past decades, many clinical trials have been conducted to develop the most effective, safe, and evidence-based therapy approaches that increase the survival rate and make the treatment process less traumatic (Soria et al., 2011). Researchers now try to understand the causes and pathogenesis of cancer to make the treatment process more holistic.

Due to these advancements, the number of cancer survivors steadily increases, and the quality of their lives improves significantly (Miller et al., 2016). At the same time, the increasing popularity of alternative treatment options shows that people seek other ways to support their physical and emotional well-being during the therapy. Sometimes, people even refuse traditional treatment in favor of these underresearched and even dangerous solutions. In this essay, I argue that although some alternative options can be used to complement the main treatment, its independent success ratio is too low to use it as the only approach to cancer treatment.

There are several main treatment methods used to fight the disease. In most of the cases, patients undergo a surgery, during which the tumor is removed from the body to prevent or stop the metastasis (Ko, Dollinger, & Rosenbaum, 2008). After that, doctors may prescribe a therapy (its selection depends on the type of cancer, patient’s overall condition, available options within each particular hospital, etc.). Such methods as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, etc. have proven to be effective in eliminating the disease and achieving full recovery (Ko et al., 2008).

Statistics show that traditional treatment methods are successful in increasing cancer survival rates. Thus, according to Miller et al. (2016), more than 15 million Americans once diagnosed with cancer were alive in 2016, while by 2026, this number is projected to increase by five million. In fact, the United States has probably the best cancer survival statistics in the world, mainly due to high-technology equipment and advanced drugs, as well as more extensive screening and awareness raising. Although thousands of people still die of cancer every year, and this number continues to grow, one cannot deny the fact that traditional treatment methods have made it possible to save more lives (National Cancer Institute, n.d.).

Alternative methods cannot boast any impressive achievements, although it does not stop people from seeking complementary treatments. Such methods as hypnosis, meditation, acupuncture, exercise, etc. have been used by people diagnosed with cancer to relieve pain and improve the quality of their lives (Singh & Chaturvedi, 2015). However, compared to traditional treatment methods, alternative solutions cannot fight the disease. Their main aim is to reduce pain, stress, and anxiety and improve overall psychological and emotional well-being. In most of the cases, these methods are used as an additional therapy only, so it is impossible to provide the accurate statistics on survival rates. Moreover, an increasing number of scholars and doctors are concerned that people choose alternative options instead of evidence-based ones, which puts their lives at risk because no existing complementary therapies can treat cancer effectively (Arney, 2012).

Thus, after comparing traditional and alternative cancer treatment, one may confidently claim that only the first can be used to fight the disease once and for all. Complementary options may be considered only to relieve pain or reduce anxiety and stress but should not be chosen as the only treatment method. Given the latest achievements in cancer treatment in the USA, there is no necessity to subject one’s life to additional risk by using alternative methods. Instead, it is better to rely on competent cancer specialists who know how to adjust the therapy to each patient’s needs.



This narrative essay sample aims to investigate the success ratio of holistic and non-medical cancer treatments. It can be used for the reference only and cannot be plagiarized. If you need an original, well-written academic essay, use our online writing services. You can be sure that you will receive an excellent, mistake-free paper completed within the deadline. Rely on our writers’ professionalism and creativity to receive excellent grades.



Arney, K. (2012). Alternative cancer treatment claims in the media are damaging and misleading. Cancer Research UK. Retrieved from http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2012/12/07/alternative-cancer-treatment-claims-in-the-media-are-damaging-and-misleading/

Ko, A., Dollinger, M., & Rosenbaum, E. (2008). Everyone’s guide to cancer therapy: How cancer is diagnosed, treated, and managed day to day. Kansas City, KS: Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Miller, K. D., Siegel, R. L., Lin, C. C., Mariotto, A. B., Kramer, J. L., Rowland, J. H., Stein, K. D., Alteri, R., & Jemal, A. (2016). Cancer treatment and survivorship statistics, 2016. CA Cancer J Clin., 66(4), 271-89. doi:10.3322/caac.21349

National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Cancer statistics. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/understanding/statistics

Singh, P., & Chaturvedi, A. (2015). Complementary and alternative medicine in cancer pain management: A systematic review. Indian J Palliat Care, 21(1), 105–115. doi:10.4103/0973-1075.150202

Soria, J. C., Blay, J. Y., Spano, J. P., Pivot, X., Coscas, Y., & Khayat, D. (2011). Added value of molecular targeted agents in oncology. Ann Oncol., 22(8), 1703-16. doi:10.1093/annonc/mdq675

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