Choices in complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture cancer care goes beyond conventional care. Complementary care offers therapies and practices that “complement” conventional therapies.
Complementary therapies that go beyond self care include herbs and supplements, repurposed drugs, mind-body approaches and many other kinds of therapies.
Three guidelines as you explore complementary therapies:
- First, you may want to review the science on therapies that interest you. We have a growing database of complementary therapy reviews that can help.
- Second, listen to your intuition. If you are drawn to a therapy, we believe you should consider it carefully. If the potential for harm is small, and if it will not be a financial burden for you, you risk very little by exploring it. As long as you’ve got your conventional therapies covered. As Donald Abrams, MD, says: “The lower the likelihood of harm, the lower the burden of proof.” Look at how experts use the therapy (see our reviews of complementary therapies).
- Third, if a therapy is costly and you have to travel to get it, or if a center claims to cure your cancer, be far more careful. The biggest danger is practitioners or centers that claim to cure cancer using complementary therapies alone and who charge a lot and require travel. Some are easily discovered to be fraudulent. Others are sincere but may not deliver on their claims. Navigating the claims of these centers is a complex undertaking.
An optimal approach is to find a cancer navigator or guide knowledgeable about the kinds of practitioners or centers that interest you. Ralph Moss and his Moss Reports have been a standard resource for people investigating controversial centers for many years. The reports are quite costly but well worth the cost before you invest thousands of dollars in travel and the treatment. Whenever possible, it is wise to talk to patients and practitioners before you sign up for an expensive treatment protocol. Look for online reviews. Visiting the center and seeing it yourself before you sign up is best of all.
We hope our deeply researched resources on complementary therapies help you in your search.
Wishing you well,
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