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Cancer Alternative Therapies

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Summary

You have many choices to make about your cancer treatment. One choice you might be thinking about is complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard care. Examples of CAM therapies are acupuncture, chiropractic, and herbal medicines.

People with cancer may use CAM to:

  • Help cope with the side effects of cancer treatments
  • Ease worries of cancer treatment and related stress
  • Feel that they are doing something more to help their own care

CAM treatments do not work for everyone. Some methods, such as acupuncture, might help with nausea, pain and other side effects of cancer treatment. Talk to your doctor to make sure that all aspects of your cancer care work together.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Start Here

  • Cancer and Complementary Health Approaches: What You Need To Know From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) Also in Spanish
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Patients From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
  • Complementary and Integrative Methods (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
  • PDQ Cancer Information Summaries: Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Talking about Complementary and Alternative Medicine with Your Health Care Providers: A Workbook and Tips From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) - PDF
  • Thinking about Complementary and Alternative Medicine From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)

Related Issues

  • 6 Things to Know When Selecting a Complementary Health Practitioner From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) Also in Spanish
  • Cancer Therapy Interactions with Foods and Dietary Supplements From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute)
  • Dietary Supplements (American Cancer Society)
  • Finding Cancer Information on the Internet (American Cancer Society)
  • Products Claiming to "Cure" Cancer Are a Cruel Deception (Food and Drug Administration) Also in Spanish

Specifics

  • 6 Things To Know About Massage Therapy for Health Purposes From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • 714-X From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Acupuncture From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Alternative Cancer Treatments: 11 Options to Consider (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
  • Antineoplastons From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Aromatherapy with Essential Oils From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Cancell/Cantron/Protocel From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Cannabis and Cannabinoids From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Cartilage (Bovine and Shark) From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Coenzyme Q10 From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Essiac/Flor Essence From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Gerson Therapy From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Hydrazine Sulfate From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Hyperthermia to Treat Cancer From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Laetrile/Amygdalin From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Milk Thistle From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Mistletoe Extracts From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Newcastle Disease Virus From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • PC-SPES From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
  • Spirituality in Cancer Care From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish

Clinical Trials

  • ClinicalTrials.gov: Cancer Alternative Therapies From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine Cancer Clinical Trials From the National Institutes of Health (Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

  • Article: The role of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine in cancer care...
  • Article: Usage of Complementary and Alternative Methods, Lifestyle, and Psychological Variables in...
  • Article: Prevalence of late and long-term effects of cancer (treatment) and use...
  • Cancer Alternative Therapies -- see more articles

Reference Desk

  • Dictionary of Cancer Terms From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish

Find an Expert

  • American Cancer Society
  • Find a NCCAOM Certified Practitioner (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine)
  • National Cancer Institute From the National Institutes of Health Also in Spanish
  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health From the National Institutes of Health

Patient Handouts

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.

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