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Complementary Medicine

Cancer treatments that use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are called:

  • Complementary medicine when it is used along with standard treatment
  • Alternative medicine when it is used instead of standard treatment

CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care system, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Conventional medicine is practiced by medical doctors (MDs) or doctors of osteopathy (DOs), and by health care professionals who work with them.

Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine.  Our complementary medicine includes:

  • Pain and Symptom Management
  • Patient Resource Navigator
  • Oncology Dietician, Nutrition and Herbal Therapy
  • Menu Planning and Meal home-delivery options
  • Massage Therapy and Acupunture
  • Oncology Social Worker
  • Support Groups and Educational Programs
  • Support Therapies – Art, Music, Writing, Pet

Many people say CAM helps them feel better. However, some types of CAM may change the way standard treatment works. These changes could be harmful. Other types of CAM could be harmful even if used alone. Some types of CAM are expensive and health insurance may not cover the cost.

About CAM Therapies

Many CAM approaches are used by a large percentage of people with cancer. If you are considering CAM therapies, talk with your doctor and consider the following:

  • Inform all of your health care providers about any therapies you are using or considering to ensure a safe and coordinated course of care.
  • The same scientific evaluation that is used to assess conventional approaches should be used to evaluate CAM therapies.
  • The National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine are sponsoring or cosponsoring various clinical trials to study CAM treatments for cancer patients.

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