Health & Medicine
Alternative Cancer Therapies (CAM)

Alternative Cancer Therapies (CAM)

You may have other names, alternative medicine for cancer, complementary medicine for cancer, complementary therapy for cancer, but they all mean the same thing. One option to consider is the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM, for its acronym in English). CAM is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard care.
Standard care is what medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy and ancillary professionals such as registered health nurses and physiotherapists. Alternative medicine means treatments that you use the standards. Complementary medicine means using alternative treatments along with standards. Examples of CAM therapies are acupuncture, chiropractic and herbal medicine.


Many people are using integrative medicine (IM for short) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM for short) to help manage their symptoms, reduce side effects and have a sense of control over their health. CAM therapies include support groups, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, meditation, yoga, art therapy and music therapy, among others.

It is important to talk openly with your health care professional regarding any CAM therapy you are currently using or considering using. This will allow your health care team to create a comprehensive treatment plan and coordinated incorporating CAM therapies that are safe and effective.

Therapeutic massage may be beneficial to reduce cancer-related fatigue, anxiety and nausea. It is one of the most widely used alternative cancer techniques.

Acupuncture may reduce nausea and vomiting associated with Cancer Therapies reported further evidence of this biological effect in a recent article that pooled the results of 11 trials (Cochrane, 2006); other studies show that acupuncture can relieve pain from Cancer Therapies others are studying whether acupuncture can combat fatigue related to treatment.

The mind-body therapies (e.g. support groups, relaxation training, guided imagery, meditation) can relieve emotional Cancer Therapies There is evidence that certain modalities can reduce the pain associated with cancer and is being investigated further.

Aromatherapy can help modify and improve mood during the difficult process of fighting cancer.

It has been found that some CAM therapies are ineffective or harmful for patients undergoing cancer treatments. This is not a complete list. For more information, talk to your health practitioner.

Although St. John’s wort is effective as an antidepressant, it may interfere with chemotherapeutic agents. Other herbs and vitamins (e.g. Feverfew, vitamin E, ginkgo, garlic) may affect coagulation, and usually need to be discontinued prior to surgery. Concerns have also been raised regarding dietary antioxidants, which may interact with radiation or chemotherapy. Vitamins and nutritional supplements may be helpful to promote health in some people with cancer. It has been determined that the use of laetrile is no effective therapy for cancer and may cause cyanide poisoning. Shark cartilage is another substance marketed as stimulation of the immune system to fight Cancer Therapies however, there is no scientific evidence to prove that shark cartilage is an effective cancer treatment. Studies are ongoing.

Energy therapies to fight cancer. These therapies focus on energy that originates in the body (biological fields) or external sources (electromagnetic fields). Therapies such as acupuncture, Reiki or healing therapeutic touch interact with the body’s energy levels.

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