The liver filters the blood stream, removing toxins and waste for excretion, and converting nutrients into fuel for the body. This process makes it especially susceptible to the growth of cancerous cells. There are two primary types of liver cancer, one that develops within the liver itself, and a secondary form that is caused by the movement of cancerous cells from other organs as the liver filters the blood stream.
For years, liver cancer has been more prevalent in the developing world than in the western world, but that is beginning to change. Recently, the diagnosis rates of liver cancer in the United States in particular, and the western world in general, have begun to rise. Conventional treatments for liver cancer rely heavily on surgery and chemotherapy. These assaults on the patient’s body seek to cure the disease by destroying the cancerous cells. Unfortunately, these techniques tend to damage the healthy tissue as well, and patients often find the cure as debilitating as the disease. Consequently, more and more people are looking to natural holistic therapies as a way of beating liver cancer and restoring their health.
Causes and Symptoms of Liver Cancer
The primary causes of liver cancer are over exposure to environmental toxins, alcohol abuse, and chronic disorders such as Hepatitis-B and diabetes. Smoking is also a major contributing factor to the occurrence of liver cancer in otherwise healthy patients. In some cases, liver cancer develops as the result of the metastasizing of a primary cancer in another part of the body.
The most common symptoms associated with cancer of the liver are:
- unexplained weight loss
- loss of appetite
- abdominal swelling and pain
- swelling of the legs
- an enlargement of the liver
- chalky, light colored stools
Herbal Treatments for the Cause of Liver Cancer
Cancers develop due to an abnormal functioning of the cells and tissues within the body. Many herbal supplements have been shown to help the body protect itself from abnormal cell growth, by both preventing the initialization of cancer cells and by destroying the abnormal cells that do develop. One of the most effective herbal treatments for the cause of liver cancer is Essiac tea. Made from a variety of herbs, including burdock, Indian rhubarb, blessed thistle, red clover and kelp, Essiac tea contains vital antioxidants that help to prevent the growth of cancerous cells. Recent studies have also indicated that Essiac tea may help to prevent the mutation of cells at the DNA level.
Other herbal supplements have been shown to provide protection for the liver, and to increase the liver’s potential for self healing. AHCC, a mushroom extract, can be used to enhance the immune system and to protect the liver from disease. Astragalus, coptis and barberry can also be taken to help prevent the multiplication of abnormal cells within the liver.
When taking herbal supplements, patients should work closely with their holistic clinician to design a dosage plan. As everything put into the body is ultimately filtered by the liver, cancer patients will want to be careful when taking any supplements to prevent the already compromised liver from being over taxed.
Nutrition Therapy for Liver Cancer
Good nutrition is the basis of any healthy, and health restoring, lifestyle. Liver cancer patients will want to transition to a more vegetarian based diet, with an emphasis on fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Some vitamin supplements can be taken to compensate for any lack of nutrients in the patients normal diet. Vitamins C and E, as well as beta carotene and selenium, can be taken to help boost the immune system and to help prevent the development of any related disorders as the body works to defeat the cancer that is attacking the liver.
The Power of the Mind
Mind-Body medicine plays a large part in the prevention of, and recovery from, all forms of cancer. A cancer diagnosis inevitably leads to stress and anxiety, which sap the native energy the body needs to heal itself. Prayer, and meditation on the word of God, plays a vital role in centering the spiritual well-being of cancer patients, and in helping them direct much needed energies to the healing process. Daily affirmations, drawn from the word of God, can provide a sense of tranquility in patients who are battling their cancer. By meditating on God’s word and who they are in the family of God, patients can achieve an inner calm that will release the body’s innate potential to heal itself.