Alternative Treatments for Multiple Myeloma: Friend or Foe?

There are a flurry of studies and different opinions on the topic of whether nutrition and alternative treatment methods, such as turmeric, can help treat patients with multiple myeloma. Some people turn to alternative cancer therapy instead of traditional therapy, but research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows that those who do this have a higher risk of death and lower survival rate. Although it is widely believed that conventional cancer treatment will provide the greatest chance at cure, this is one of the first research studies to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative medicine for cancer.

“Alternative treatment methods and supplements such as vitamin D and calcium in combination with traditional therapy could provide some benefit to patients,” says Dr. Ruben Niesvizky, Director of the Multiple Myeloma Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. “Research shows that conventional therapy provides the higher remission rate and these treatment options have evolved tremendously over the years, resulting in improved survival rates among myeloma patients.”

Those who want to explore alternative treatments are encouraged to speak to their healthcare provider first to see what, if any, interactions there might be with their more traditional therapies.

In addition to being on the appropriate treatment regimen, maintaining a healthy diet while being treated for multiple myeloma is extremely important. Whether you’re undergoing chemotherapy or have received a bone marrow or stem cell transplant, you may have a decreased appetite. However, getting the right nutrients is key to your remission. Eating a balanced diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, protein, unsaturated fats from sources like fish, nuts, and seeds is especially important for all cancer patients.