Dear Friend

For good reason, conventional cancer care—such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery—is where most people start. Conventional cancer treatments offer the only proven cures for cancer. They may also extend and improve life when cures are not possible. We regard conventional care as the starting place in creating your integrativein cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care.

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Dear Friend

We worry when someone with a cancer that is curable with conventional treatments decides to try 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 therapies alone. We know their cancer may progress and become incurable. We’ve seen that happen too many times.

Yet conventional therapies have limits. They can’t cure many cancers. They are often difficult to undergo.

The demands of delivering good conventional care in the brief time physicians have for each patient leave little space for advising you on integrative care. Some hospitals have integrative care centers. They may provide a starting place for what integrative care can be.

Regrettably, the American medical system is deeply influenced by for-profit market forces. Profit considerations may influence the therapies you are offered, what your insurance will pay for, and what it won’t pay for. You need to know that.

Still, modern medicine is an endlessly evolving medical miracle machine. Advances in almost every field of cancer care emerge all the time. You need to make this medical miracle machine work for you.

Don’t be rushed into treatment if you can help it. Ask how much time you can take to evaluate choices and reach a decision.

You should do what doctors do when they or a loved one has cancer. They almost always talk to more than one oncologist or surgeon. They do additional research and take a very careful look at their choices.

No decisions will be more fateful than your choices in conventional cancer therapies. Make them with care.

Wishing you well,

Michael

Michael Lerner Co-Founder
Michael Lerner Co-Founder

Conventional cancer care

Conventional cancer care is treatment that is widely accepted and used by most healthcare professionals. Examples of conventional cancer treatments include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.1Conventional treatment. National Cancer Institute. Viewed December 3, 2021.

Conventional cancer care is central to an informed integrative approach to cancer. It is critical in controlling and, when possible, eradicating cancer. 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 therapies and self-carelifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices can play a key role in reducing or managing the side effects of conventional treatment, allowing you to complete your treatment with a better quality of life. An integrative approach can also help you build your health during and after treatment.

Specialized professionals in conventional care

Within conventional medicine, many types of specialized professionals offer support beyond cancer treatment. Some of these professionals can receive specialized training and licensing related to cancer care. Many of these services are covered by medical insurance (check your policy).

  • Medical doctors, including osteopathic physicians
  • Nurses and physician assistants
  • Palliative care professionals
  • Social workers
  • Chaplains

Professionals less likely to be covered by medical insurance:

  • Fitness instructors
  • Health and wellness coaches or counselors

Our scope 

As making decisions about cancer treatment can be a complex undertaking, we developed a guide to help you.

This guide focuses mostly on your decisions related to conventional cancer treatment, as conventional treatment decisions are some of the most critical choices you will make.

We also offer guidance on specialized aspects of conventional care.

We do not offer comprehensive guidance on conventional care or the basic information you need to learn about your cancer. Many excellent resources are available, such as these:

Keep reading about choices in conventional care

Authors

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Miki Scheidel

Co-Founder and Creative Director
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Miki Scheidel is Co-founder and creative director of CancerChoices. She led the effort to transform Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies, the prior version of CancerChoices, to its current form. Miki and her family were deeply affected by her father’s transformative experience with integrative approaches to metastatic kidney cancer. That experience inspires her work as president of the Scheidel Foundation and as volunteer staff at CancerChoices. She previously worked with the US Agency for International Development and Family Health International among other roles. She received her graduate degree in international development from Georgetown University, a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Gettysburg College.

Miki Scheidel Co-Founder and Creative Director

Whitney You, MD, MPH

Research Consultant
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Dr. You is a physician specializing in maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) with a specific interest in cancer in the context of pregnancy. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health services research with a focus in health literacy and received a Master of Public Health.

Whitney You, MD, MPH Research Consultant

Last update: April 4, 2022

Last full resource review: August 2021

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review 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 therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

Our staff have no financial conflicts of interest to declare. We receive no funds from any manufacturers or retailers gaining financial profit by promoting or discouraging therapies mentioned on this site.

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