Common Side Effects of Conventional Therapies

One of the major challenges that integrative and naturopathic oncologists face in the treatment of patients undergoing active treatment is the management of side effects from cytotoxic therapies. These side effects range from mild to debilitating and can exert a profound negative impact on the quality of life of patients. As a result, naturopathic physicians seek to prevent the onset or to mitigate the magnitude of these undesirable side effects, without compromising the efficacy of ongoing treatment. 

Chapter 6 in the Textbook of Naturopathic Oncology details, in alphabetical order, the 27 most common symptoms that are likely to result from the pursuit of conventional therapies. Starting below, this next series of blog posts aim to provide a glimpse into the types of treatments, both naturopathic and conventional, that are covered by the textbook for each of the listed side effects. 

Common Side Effect #1 – Alopecia

Hair loss remains one the primaries concerns among cancer patients, often due to its stigmatizing effect. Although it can be challenging to lessen hair loss during the treatment period, in addition to there being a legitimate concern with interfering with the treatment, there are numerous ways to support faster regrowth post-treatment. 

One naturopathic consideration for alopecia is biotin. A 2019 review on the role of vitamins and minerals in hair loss published in the Dermatology and Therapy journal found that simply ensuring biotin repletion can improve hair growth and that there was no evidence for additional benefits with high doses. 

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