authors: Walter Tsang MD and Kevin Curran PhD
The symptoms listed above are commonly experienced by cancer patients. However, the symptoms discussed on this page are not unique to cancer patients. For that reason, this page serves as a resource for people managing other serious health concerns (diabetes, heart disease, COPD, dementia, ext.)
Walter Tsang MD is a medical oncologist in Banning, California. Dr. Tsang treats cancer patients at Redlands Community Hospital.
Kevin Curran PhD is a biology professor at the University of San Diego. Dr. Curran operates a research program that seeks out novel therapeutic compounds from desert plants.
This article is intended to be used as a general educational resource. Please consult with your physician or naturopathic physician in regards to the best treatment for your particular medical situation.
Alternative treatment for neuropathy
Herbal remedies for neuropathy include capsaicin and primrose oil.
Capsaicin is the spicy substance found in hot peppers. You can apply a capsaicin based cream to the affected areas on your body. There may be a slight burning sensation when you apply the capsaicin cream, but this should lessen over time.
Evening primrose oil has also shown the ability to reduce neuropathy pain among diabetics.
In addition, some chemotherapy patients report improvements upon using acetyl-L-carnitine, an amino acid supplement.
Return to our main list of symptoms.
How do you reduce this unpleasant swelling?
Ideally, you and your physician can identify the root cause of the fluid buildup. If one particular medication is causing edema, then hopefully you can find a suitable substitute.
Your physician may also be able to recommend a prescription diuretic. A diuretic drug should help rid your body of extra fluid.
In terms of lifestyle changes, often a small change to your diet can make a big difference. In general, a healthy and low-salt diet helps reduce swelling. The use of compression socks are also helpful for some folks suffering from peripheral edema.
A healthy heart can also minimize the effects of edema. A robust heartbeat helps push fluids around your body. This will keep fluids from pooling up in the extremities of your body. You can keep your heart pumping by maintaining a regular routine of daily exercise.
You can also explore the option of herbal diuretics. Certain plants help reduce body fluid levels. However, it’s also possible to lose vitamins and minerals with diuretics, so take caution and talk to your provider before trying a herbal diuretic.
The dandelion plant (Taraxacum officinale) is used as a herbal diuretic. But be aware, this plant may also interact with other medications (blood thinners, antibiotics, lithium, ext.)
Grape seed extract and bilberry are two additional botanical sources regarded as useful for edema.
Return to our main list of symptoms.
This concludes our list of health issues associated with palliative care.
The list is a work in progress, so please bookmark the page and return often.
I’ll be updating the page each year as new research is published on effective integrative therapies.
Thanks for stopping by!
(Most of the key references for this article are linked within the text. Below we list some additional sources for each section.)
Radbruch, Lukas, et al. “Fatigue in palliative care patients—an EAPC approach.” Palliative Medicine 22.1 (2008): 13-32.
Escalante, Carmen P. “Treatment of cancer-related fatigue: an update.” Supportive care in cancer 11.2 (2003): 79-83.
Glare, Paul, et al. “Treating nausea and vomiting in palliative care: a review.” Clin Interv Aging 6.243 (2011): 59.
Loss of appetite
Davis MP, Walsh D, Lagman R, Yavuzsen T. Early satiety in cancer patients: a common and important but underrecognized symptom. Support Care Cancer, 2006 Jul;14(7):693-8. Epub 2006 Apr 20.
Hovan AJ, Williams PM, Stevenson-Moore P, Wahlin YB, Ohrn KE, Elting LS, et al. A systematic review of dysgeusia induced by cancer therapies. Support Care Cancer 2010;18(8):1081-7. Epub 2010 May 22.
Ostgathe, Christoph, Jan Gaertner, and Raymond Voltz. “Cognitive failure in end of life.” Current opinion in supportive and palliative care 2.3 (2008): 187-191.
Rao, Suresh, et al. “The Indian spice turmeric delays and mitigates radiation-induced oral mucositis in patients undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer: an investigational study.” Integrative cancer therapies 13.3 (2014): 201-210.
Franco, Pierfrancesco, et al. “Hypericum perforatum and neem oil for the management of acute skin toxicity in head and neck cancer patients undergoing radiation or chemo-radiation: a single-arm prospective observational study.” Radiation Oncology 9.1 (2014): 297.
Ryan, Julie L., et al. “Curcumin for radiation dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of thirty breast cancer patients.” Radiation research 180.1 (2013): 34-43.
Ben-David, Merav A., et al. “Melatonin for Prevention of Breast Radiation Dermatitis: A Phase II, Prospective, Double-Blind Randomized Trial.” The Israel Medical Association journal: IMAJ 18.3-4 (2015): 188-192.
Hoopfer, Donna, et al. “Three-arm randomized phase III trial: quality aloe and placebo cream versus powder as skin treatment during breast cancer radiation therapy.” Clinical breast cancer 15.3 (2015): 181-190.
Chochinov, Harvey Max, and William Breitbart. Handbook of psychiatry in palliative medicine. Oxford University Press, USA, 2009.
Curran, Kevin P., and Sreekanth H. Chalasani. “Serotonin circuits and anxiety: what can invertebrates teach us?.” Invertebrate Neuroscience 12.2 (2012): 81-92.
Marks, Sean, and Thomas Heinrich. “Assessing and treating depression in palliative care patients.” Current Psychiatry 12.8 (2013): 35.
Wilson, Keith G., et al. “Diagnosis and management of depression in palliative care.” Handbook of psychiatry in palliative medicine (2000): 25-49.
Renom-Guiteras, Anna, et al. “Insomnia among patients with advanced disease during admission in a Palliative Care Unit: a prospective observational study on its frequency and association with psychological, physical and environmental factors.” BMC palliative care 13.1 (2014): 1.
National Institutes of Health. “National Institutes of Health State of the Science Conference statement on Manifestations and Management of Chronic Insomnia in Adults, June 13-15, 2005.” Sleep 28.9 (2005): 1049.
Boekhout, Annelies H., Jos H. Beijnen, and Jan HM Schellens. “Symptoms and treatment in cancer therapy-induced early menopause.” The oncologist 11.6 (2006): 64.
Bruera, Eduardo. “ABC of palliative care. Anorexia, cachexia, and nutrition.” BMJ: British Medical Journal 315.7117 (1997): 1219.
Gas and bloating
Ringel, Yehuda, et al. “T1406 Probiotic Bacteria Lactobacillus Acidophilus Ncfm and Bifidobacterium Lactis Bi-07 Improve Symptoms of Bloating in Patients with Functional Bowel Disorders (FBD).” Gastroenterology 134.4 (2008): A-549.