- Question from Bricker: Are there any techniques that boost immunity?
In the world of cancer and our health in general, we are always under the belief that an increase in our immune system functioning is a good thing. But what's important to consider is that higher is not always better when it comes to our immune systems, and if we look to other indigenous medicines of the world, the focus is typically on balance. So if one has an increase in certain aspects of our immune system, that could actually be associated with different disease states. We know that arthritis and other inflammatory disorders are due to an overactive immune system, at least in terms of certain components. We now know that the majority of cancers are due to an inflammatory process and not due to a decrease in our immune surveillance systems when cells go awry.
With that said, there is research showing that stress, chronic stress in particular, stresses parts of the immune system that are useful in combating cancer. Chronic stress can increase inflammatory processes, and can have a direct impact on aspects of cell functioning which novel drug discoveries and cancer treatments are trying to target. So any type of mind/body modality that can help you to manage unwanted stress in your life will help to bring your immune system more in balance. There are a number of herbs and supplements that purportedly help to boost the immune system. What is again important to note is that if you have a well-functioning immune system, boosting it may not be very helpful. In terms of herbs and supplements, it is important to always discuss this with your oncologist and health care provider as well as people who are knowledgeable in the area of cyto-medicine.
The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Complementary Medicine Techniques Part 3 featured Lorenzo Cohen, Ph.D. and moderator Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answering your questions about different types of complementary techniques and how they can help during and after breast cancer treatment.
Editor's Note: This conference took place in March 2007.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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