Complementary and Integrative Medicine consist of wellness-promoting treatments that complement conventional Western medical care and are used as adjuncts to mainstream cancer care. These are used primarily for symptom control and to enhance physical and emotional strength during and after mainstream cancer treatment. These treatments should be chosen based on consultation with a physician trained in integrative medicine who can help you decide on the care you need based on what’s right for you, considering the type of conventional cancer treatment you are receiving.
During this consultation, the recommendations may include:
- Dietary supplements and botanicals
- Mind-body connection, for example, meditation, yoga and tai-chi
- Stress management
- Exercise and activity
- Other alternative medicine systems
Many patients report that complementary therapies are helpful, but others have found no effects or have reported problems. It is important that your doctor knows what therapies you are using, and that treatments you receive are from a qualified practitioner.
Before trying any complementary or integrative therapy, it is important to consider:
- Safety (appropriateness for your condition, quality control of herbal medicines and supplements, etc.)
- Cost in time and money
- Credentials of the practitioner
Many medical centers that treat cancer patients currently offer complementary and integrative medicine treatments. Examples include:
If you would like to investigate the use of complementary and integrative medicine, contact your local hospital and/or medical center for recommendation on centers that provide these services in your local area.