Going with the Alternative: Supporting My Mother’s Healthcare Choices

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About Joe Barton

Joe Barton is the founder of Barton Publishing and other websites that promote natural health through teaching people how to cure themselves using alternative home remedies (using simple grocery store items, herbs, vitamins, exercises, and more), instead of expensive and harmful prescription drugs. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn and Google +.


  1. My wife is one of those complementary and alternative medicine practitioners. She sees a lot of patients like your mother. I understand a lot what you and she are going through. There is a real difference between “complementary” and “alternative” medicines.

    It’s good news/bad news, unfortunately. The good news is that the “complementary” side of natural medicine works very well. The scientific and clinical evidence for it is growing. Naturopathic cancer treatments usually work best when used in combination with more mainstream approaches, which is what your mother appears to be doing. For example, natural medicine is really good at getting rid of many of the side-effects of radiation and chemotherapy, helping people bounce back from chemo more quickly, boosting their appetite, boosting the immune system back up, etc. It’s also very good for palliative care in cases where the disease has reached a point in which the patient has very little time left.

    Unfortunately, the “alternative” side of things is often vastly overestimated. My wife the naturopath would be the first to admit this. There are promising alternatives out there and a WHOLE lot of scam artists, rumors, and predatory pseudo-physicians. The truth is that there is no giant conspiracy to cover up useful treatments. You better believe if there was a miracle cure then big pharm would be all over it. All the anticancer giants would patent that sucker, charge astronomical fees, and sue the pants off the generic producers. If orange juice was the miracle alternative cure, then you wouldn’t be able to buy oranges at the grocery store, not for less than $20 a pop.

    Also, what many people don’t realize is that there are alternative approaches WITHIN mainstream treatments. There are alternative ways of using chemo drugs, for example. There’s some promising studies showing success with low doses of chemo over a long period instead of a few massive doses over a short period. That’s too radical for some doctors and not radical enough for others, but it could be just the trick for a lot of patients.

    Totally agree with being proactive, though. It’s your treatment, your body, your health, your life, the way you want to live. Assume you may not be getting the whole story. Ask questions about complements and alternatives. Discuss different strategies. Educate yourself, without turning off your critical thinking skills.

  2. Thank you Steve. Cancer treatment is a long and winding road, with a lot of dangerous obstacles along the way. Potholes, falling rocks, wildlife that jump out of nowhere. My mom is going to see her oncologist today, and is expecting to hear her recommend an intensified chemo treatment plan after last week’s blood tests came back worse than hoped for. But we are believing in a miracle from God, praying for healing and proclaiming the name of Jesus over her body. There is power in the name of Jesus! It seems that being with family and friends is also a HUGE part of beating cancer, as it can be a lonely and depressing battle without support. I was reminded this weekend, when I visited my parents for Mothers Day, how important it is to spend time and make good memories together. We were singing and dancing together, enjoying each others company, going to church together, making and eating meals together. My mom is a hero for fighting this battle for so long, and not giving up. To everyone who fights cancer, my heart goes out to you and your family, and I would encourage you to never give up hope!

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