Mercedes A. Kerechanin
SOC 313 Social Implications of Medical Issues
Instructor Sabrina Geoffrion
September 8, 2014
Social Worker Ella has been diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and has been into remission but recently the cancer has returned and is now in the hospital. Ella’s condition leaves her family with tough decisions to be made on her behalf. Ella has voiced her wishes, but Ella’s family members may not agree with all of Ella’s choices due to their own experiences or their own beliefs. The caseworker assigned to the case is responsible for counseling the patient and family members on all the possible care that is available for Ella while she is battling cancer.
Treatment Choices Ella is currently battling a disease and has a lot of choices to be made. The choices that need to be made are not easy decisions and often can cause cultural and traditional issues within a family. The options Ella has must be considered and analyzed carefully by Ella, her family, and physician in order to ensure Ella is giving the best treatment and highest probability or healing or curing her breast cancer. Ella could decide to keep her current regimen and use alternative and complementary practices in addition to her Native American healing practices that she is currently using or change her mind and decide to abandon her current beliefs and use traditional medical practices in order to treat her condition. The decision to abandon her current beliefs may cause tension between her and her husband because of his Native American cultural background, but if Ella decides to follow mainstream medical advice and use traditional medicine she may have a higher chance at curing the cancer and living a longer healthier life.
Alternative and Complementary Practices Ella’s has been treating her breast cancer with alternative medicine already and has some success through those natural means, but now she is in remission. Complementary and alternative means of treatment are products, practices, and systems that are not considered mainstream medicine. These methods can help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life while undergoing cancer treatment (American Cancer Society, 2014). Some benefits that complementary and alternative medicines provide are they relieve some side effects from cancer treatment, they do not have as many unpleasant side effects as mainstream medicine and it allows the patient to be more involved and active in their own health care practices (American Cancer Society, 2014). These alternative methods are not proven to cure cancer, but can help the patient feel better while being treated. While complementary and alternative methods have their positive attributes, they also have some negative aspects as well. When practicing alternative methods it is important that the health care physician is aware of the practices that are being used and approve them before starting a complementary or alternative practice. Some of the complementary practices can prevent conventional treatments from working as well as they should. It’s important to remember that the final decision of care whether it be complementary and alternative, or conventional treatment is up the patient.
Herbal Medicine One of Ella’s choices is herbal medicine. Herbal medicine is the use of plants and mixtures or plant extracts in order to treat and illness and promotes good health. Most herbal medicines can be bought over the counter, and have some evidence that they help prevent and relieve some ailments and symptoms of cancer and the side effects of treatment (Cancer Research UK, 2014). When choosing herbal products it is important to ensure that they are registered with the Traditional Herbal Remedies scheme, because they have been tested for quality and safety. Herbal products are still considered medicine and can still cause side effects and lower the effectiveness with traditional cancer treatments.
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