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You may hear or read about many different kinds of treatments people have tried to cure their disease. A therapy is called complementary when it is used in addition to conventional treatments. A therapy is often called alternative when it is used instead of conventional treatment.
A number of medical centers are evaluating the scientific aspects of complementary and alternative therapies and developing studies to test them. Many of these treatments have not been thoroughly studied, and we have no proof that they work or that they are safe. Other treatments have been studied, and we know they don't help or are harmful.
It is important to talk with your doctor or nurse if you are considering any of these treatments because some therapies may interfere with your standard treatment or may be harmful when used with conventional treatment. Your doctor or nurse can talk to you about any research that has been done, and whether or not the therapy is safe or would interfere with your treatment.
(Click Colon Cancer Alternative Treatment for more information on this topic.)
There is much that you can do to help your friend or loved one during colon cancer treatment. Many of the suggestions in this article may be useful to you as you prepare food or meals for this person. In addition, here are a few other tips to keep in mind:
- Be prepared for the person's tastes to change from day to day. Some days he or she won't want favorite foods because they don't taste good. Other times, he or she will be able to eat a dish that couldn't be tolerated just the day before.
- Have food within easy reach at home. For example:
- A snack-pack of applesauce or pudding and a spoon on the bedside table if the person isn't feeling well that day
- A bag of cut-up carrots on the top shelf of the refrigerator.
- Have meals and snacks ready so the person can have something to eat when he or she is ready.
- Be prepared for times when the person is only able to eat one or two foods for a few days in a row until side effects diminish. Even if he or she can't eat at all, still encourage plenty of fluids. (See Table 2 or Table 3 for a variety of examples of fluids; the "Coping With Side Effects" section contains several suggestions for getting enough fluids.)
- Talk to the person about his or her needs and concerns, and about ideas that might work best. A willingness to be flexible and supportive no matter what will help the person feel in control of the situation.
- Try not to push the person into eating and drinking. Provide encouragement and support without being overwhelming.