Esophageal cancer can be difficult to treat, especially if it is discovered in one of its late stages. While surgery remains the best solution, natural remedies are often recommended as well, as they can improve the patient’s general condition and even help treat cancer. Find out more about the natural remedies for esophageal cancer!
About Esophageal Cancer
Esophageal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the esophagus. There are two types of esophageal cancer: squamous cell carcinoma (cancer begins in the cells lining the upper part of the esophagus) and adenocarcinoma (it begins in the cells present at the junction of the esophagus and stomach; these cells deal with the production and release of mucus). Squamous cell carcinoma is quite similar to head and neck cancer, especially since it is often associated with smoking and consumption of alcohol. Adenocarcinoma, however, can be caused by gastroesophageal reflux disease and Barrett’s esophagus.
People over 60, especially men, are at a higher risk of getting esophageal cancer. As already mentioned, alcohol and smoking often play an important role, as well. Of course, like most types of cancer, esophageal cancer is hereditary, as well. If you’ve got relatives that have had cancer, you’re also at risk of getting cancer. Other health problems can also increase the risk of getting esophageal cancer, like achalasia, the Plummer-Vinson syndrome, or celiac disease, as well as infection with human papillomavirus or a medical history of head/neck cancer. Other factors that can influence the risk of getting esophageal cancer include corrosive injury of the esophagus, radiation therapy, or thermal injury of the esophagus.
Common symptoms include dysphagia and odynophagia; dysphagia means having a difficult time swallowing something, while odynophagia means experiencing pain when swallowing something. Fluids and soft foods are rarely a problem, but hard or bulky foods might be difficult to swallow. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, pain behind the sternum or in the epigastrium, and a raspy, hoarse-sounding cough. Esophageal cancer can also interfere with normal peristalsis (the swallowing reflex), which can lead to nausea, vomiting (even with blood), coughing, and regurgitating food.
Esophageal cancer is known to have four stages. Stage I means cancer can be found only in the top layers of the cells, while during stage II, cancer goes to the deeper layers of the cell lining. During stage III, cancer has penetrated the wall of the esophagus and has spread to the tissues or lymph nodes. The last stage means cancer has spread to other parts of the body (liver, lungs, bones).
Prevention and Treatment
Preventing esophageal cancer is pretty difficult, even for those who are at a high risk of getting it. You can significantly reduce the chances of getting cancer if you stop smoking or consuming alcohol. Also, it appears that moderate consumption of beverages that contain caffeine can decrease the risk of getting esophageal cancer.
What you eat also matters a lot. It is generally recommended to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, in order to decrease the risk of esophageal cancer, it is recommended to eat foods that are high in cruciferous. This includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower.
Diagnosis of esophageal cancer is done with the help of an esophagogastroduodenoscopy or, to call it by its shorter name, an endoscopy. This means that a flexible tube is inserted through the mouth and pushed down the throat, in order to examine the wall of the esophagus. Additional tests are needed in order to note the stage.
In many cases, esophageal cancer is discovered when it has reached a late stage because people do not associate its common symptoms with a type of cancer. Small tumors can be removed through surgery (esophagectomy), though large ones are not operable in most cases. In this case, the only solution is palliative care, though their growth can be slowed down with the help of laser therapy, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy.
Natural Remedies for Esophageal Cancer
Curing esophageal cancer with the help of natural remedies might prove to be quite difficult, especially if the cancer is discovered in a late stage. However, some of these natural remedies can slow down the progress of cancerous cells and help with the overall treatment.
A mix of honey and both turmeric and ginger can help, as they all work to kill the cancerous cells. It is recommended that you take two teaspoons of honey with one teaspoon of turmeric. On the next day, you should take two teaspoons of honey with one teaspoon of ginger. Then, go back to turmeric. Remember to alternate between ginger and turmeric.
Essiac tea is often recommended to cancer patients, as consumption can help shrink tumors and get rid of the pain. Other herbal teas can help, as well; you can drink peppermint tea and Ceylon green tea.
It is believed that black raspberry can help treat and/or prevent esophageal cancer, as well as other types of cancer (colon cancer, skin cancer). It appears that they contain anthocyanins (a class of flavonoids); they are known to inhibit cancer cell growth and promote apoptosis (death of cancer cells). Anthocyanins can also be found in other types of berries (blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, blackcurrant), as well as in cherries, black rice, Concord grapes, Muscadine grapes, and red cabbage.
Vitamin A is also known to help shrink the size of tumors. You can get it naturally from dark leafy greens, lettuce, carrots, sweet potatoes, dried herbs, or dried apricots. You can even prepare a vegetable juice, as long as the main ingredient is carrot. However, don’t forget that it’s better to eat these fruits and vegetables fresh and uncooked. If they are cooked, they become less beneficial, as they lose many of their properties.
Although these remedies involve the use of natural fruits, vegetables, and herbs, it is still recommended to check with your doctor first before using one of them, especially if you’re already taking a particular type of medication.
You should also avoid any plant that you might be allergic to. If you’re not sure, watch out for common symptoms of allergic reactions: swelling of the lips and tongue, skin rashes, or difficulty in breathing. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor at once.
Also, remember that these natural remedies don’t promise to cure esophageal cancer. However, they can help treat cancer and improve your condition.