As we reported in July 2009, Beasty Boyz member Adam Yauch was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer. He was treated with surgery and radiation in August 2009. In addition to traditional treatment, Yauch credits a vegan diet and Tibetan medicine as playing important roles in becoming well again. In March 2010, Yauch attended a 3-day teaching by the Dalai Lama. He emailed his fans, saying:
“i’m feeling healthy, strong and hopeful that i’ve beaten this thing, but of course time will tell. i’m taking tibetan medicine and at the recommendation of the tibetan doctors i’ve been eating a vegan/organic diet, which surprisingly enough was harder to do in india than it is now that i’m back home. here i can just shop for the right food and cook… a lot easier than depending on restaurants.
when i was in india i visited an ani gompa (a nunnery) called jamyang choling. they did a puja (religious ceremony) for me to help me get well. one nun said to me “we do prayers and then you are better.” so i’ve got that going for me, which is nice.”
Earlier today we reported that Adam Yauch was now cancer-free, based on reports from several media outlets. These reports were based on an interview done by fellow Beastie Boy Mike D., who told BBC’s Radio One, “we’re really happy” about Yauch’s all-clear status. However, Yauch posted a message today on the Beastie Boyz website saying that this was not true-
“Hello My Friends
While I’m grateful for all the positive energy people are sending my way, reports of my being totally cancer free are exaggerated.
I’m continuing treatment, staying optimistic and hoping to be cancer free in the near future.”
Many Americans use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine, in pursuit of health and well being. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, showed that approximately 38 percent of adults use CAM.
CAM practices are often grouped into broad categories, such as natural products, mind-body medicine, and manipulative and body-based practices.
This area of CAM includes use of a variety of herbal medicines (also known as botanicals), vitamins, minerals, and other “natural products.” Many are sold over the counter as dietary supplements. (Some uses of dietary supplements—e.g., taking a multivitamin to meet minimum daily nutritional requirements or taking calcium to promote bone health—are not thought of as CAM.)
CAM “natural products” also include probiotics- live bacteria (and sometimes yeasts) found in foods such as yogurt or in dietary supplements. These live microorganisms (usually bacteria) are similar to microorganisms normally found in the human digestive tract and that may have beneficial effects. Probiotics are available in foods (e.g., yogurts) or as dietary supplements.
Mind-body practices focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body,and behavior, with the intent to use the mind to affect physical functioning and promote health. Many CAM practices embody this concept in different ways.
Other examples of mind-body practices include deep-breathing exercises, guided imagery, hypnotherapy, progressive relaxation, qi gong, and tai chi. Guided imagery is one of several techniques (such as a series of verbal suggestions) used to guide another person or oneself in imagining sensations—especially in visualizing an image in the mind—to bring about a desired physical response (such as stress reduction). Qi gong is a component of traditional Chinese medicine that combines movement, meditation, and controlled breathing. The intent is to improve blood flow and the flow of qi.
Manipulative and Body-Based Practices
Manipulative and body-based practices focus primarily on the structures and systems of the body, including the bones and joints, soft tissues, and circulatory and lymphatic systems. Two commonly used therapies fall within this category:
Rigorous, well-designed clinical trials for many CAM therapies are often lacking; therefore, the safety and effectiveness of many CAM therapies are uncertain. The National Institutes of Health, the nation’s largest health research organization, has a specific institute whose mission is to investigate CAM, the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). NCCAM sponsors research designed to fill this knowledge gap by building a scientific evidence base about CAM therapies—whether they are safe; and whether they work for the conditions for which people use them and, if so, how they work. NCCAM achieves its mission through basic, translational (“bench-to-bedside”), and clinical research; research capacity building and training; and education and outreach programs.
For more information about Complementary and Alternative Medicine, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.