Friend has thyroid cancer. Worried about her treatment choices.

Posted by shepn7 @shepn7, Nov 22, 2021

A dear friend of mine was diagnosed with thyroid cancer about 3 months ago. She has chosen to go the holistic route. Shes been vastly limiting and changing her diet, avoiding all possible chemical exposure, taking a ton of vitamins and supplements, and has gotten off all her medications–including ones she takes for depression and other conditions. She is just generally denying all treatment other than natural things. Recently she's been feeling really poorly, and I am horribly worried about her. I want to respect her wishes, but all I can think about is the cancer spreading and her dying. I think that having a healthy diet can improve many conditions, but I'm not sure what she is doing is healthy. She's lost a ton of weight and her holistic "doctor" is discouraging her from seeking other treatments. I…I don't know what to do in this situation. I think I'm going to try and talk to her after Thanksgiving and just tell her how much I care for her and how worried I am. I'm not sure it will do any good and she may stop talking to me, but I won't be able to forgive myself if I don't say anything. She's convinced this will cure her cancer, and I despertly hope something she is doing will help. But I don't have much faith in holistic practices. I don't know what to ay to her. But I've got to try something…

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@shepn7, you obviously care for your friend very much. Your approach about telling her how much she means to you and how worried you are sounds like a good way to start the discussion. It will not be an easy discussion. I wonder if it might help to start by listening. Perhaps asking her about the care she chose. Does she fear surgery? Chemo? Understanding her fears might give you a place to start.

Like you, I worry about the promises that may have been made by alternative medicine practitioners who may be offering a "cure" and other treatments that are not evidence-based and that could prevent her from getting treatment that can help.

Here are some definitions that explain the difference between alternative medicine, complementary medicine, integrative medicine, and conventional medicine.

When considering complementary or alternative treatments, be open-minded yet skeptical. Learn about the potential benefits and risks. Here is an article from Mayo Clinic that might interest you about evaluating claims made by the producers and/or sellers of supplements, natural products and other alternative medicines.

I hope integrative medicine might be something she would consider. Whatever her choice, it is her choice. You can offer your caring, kindness and support along with your concern and honesty.

Was she diagnosed at a cancer center? Did she have a poor experience with the cancer team?

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