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Treatment Choices:
Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM)


CAM refers to therapies not considered a part of conventional medicine.

  • Complementary Medicine = Together with Conventional Medicine
  • Alternative Medicine = Separate from Conventional Medicine
  • Integrative Medicine = Conventional Plus Alternative Therapies

Please see a partial list of CAM therapies at the end of this section.

Why CAM?

CAM therapies facilitate cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship.

Some people with cancer choose complementary or integrative medicine to support their conventional treatments.

Others utilize alternative medicine without conventional treatments.

This group of patients includes those that have exhausted conventional therapies and those that who decide that conventional therapy is not helping enough, at least relative to the risks involved.

 

Also, people who want medicine to treat the whole person instead of just the disease and symptoms also often seek CAM therapy.


 
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CAM Usage in Cancer

Studies indicate that more than 80 percent of cancer patients use at least one CAM modality (Richardson MA, 2000).

And yet, there has been a gap between mainstream oncology and the world of complementary and alternative medicine.

Some major medical institutions now have integrative medicine departments; however, more progress is necessary to build a bridge between both worlds.

 

Communication about CAM with Cancer Patients & Physicians

Research suggests that CAM is widely used by patients but rarely discussed with oncologists (Richardson MA, 2004).

 

Both physicians and patients agreed CAM could relieve symptoms and side effects, but physicians were less likely than patients to expect that CAM improved immunity or quality of life, cured disease, or prolonged life.

 

Physicians and patients responded differently on reasons for nondisclosure. Physicians believed patients felt CAM discussions were unimportant and physicians would not understand, discontinue treatment, and/or discourage or disapprove of the use.

Patients attributed nondisclosure to their uncertainty of its benefit and never being asked about CAM by physicians. Physicians were more likely to warn of risks and less likely to encourage use than patients perceived.

 

CISN Tip:

We encourage you to talk to your physicians about CAM and to research the risks and benefits of CAM therapies as thoroughly as you would with conventional treatments.

 

What are some CAM Therapies?

Although some people disagree about whether or not some therapies are "alternative," the following lists therapies often labeled under CAM.

  • Acupuncture
  • Art therapy such as Music, Dance, and Painting
  • Ayurvedic Medicine
  • Energy Therapies such as Qi Gong and Reiki
  • Herbology
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Movement and Physical Therapies
  • Naturopathic Medicine
  • Nutrition
  • Prayer
  • Psychotherapy techniques
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Yoga
  • Spiritual Healing
  • And Many More

Curing & Healing


  • Even when curing is not possible, there is opportunity for healing.
    Curing only addresses the disease.

  • Healing transforms the whole person, including the heart, mind, spirit, and soul.
    Anyone can engage healing.

  • Healing is possible without a cancer diagnosis, or other malady.

  • Healing is available to each and every one of us.

What Cancer Cannot Do

It cannot cripple LOVE,
It cannot shatter HOPE,
It cannot corrode FAITH,
It cannot destroy PEACE,
It cannot kill FRIENDSHIP,
It cannot suppress MEMORIES,
It cannot silence COURAGE,
It cannot invade the SOUL,
It cannot steal ETERNAL LIFE,
It cannot conquer the SPIRIT.
- Anonymous Source
   

For More Information:

Alternative Medicine Foundation
www.amfoundation.org

American Holistic Health Association
www.ahha.org

American Institute for Cancer Research
www.aicr.org

Annie Appleseed Project
www.annieappleseedproject.org

Cancer As A Turning Point
www.cancerasaturningpoint.org

Cancer Control Society
www.cancercontrolsociety.com

Cancer Treatment Centers of America
www.cancercenter.com

Cancer Victors and Friends
www.cancervictors.net

CANHELP, Inc.
www.canhelp.com

Center for Advancement in Cancer Education
www.beatcancer.org

Commonweal
www.commonweal.org

Consumer Lab
www.consumerlab.com

Foundation for Human Enrichment www.traumahealing.com

Geffen Visions
www.geffenvisions.com

Gerson Institute
www.gerson.org

Hippocrates Health Institute
www.hippocratesinst.org

Hoffman Institute
www.hoffmaninstitute.org

Institute of Noetic Sciences
www.ions.org

Mercola
www.mercola.com

The Moss Reports
www.cancerdecisions.com

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine www.nccam.nih.gov

National Foundation for Alternative Medicine www.nfam.org

Nicholas Gonzalez, MD
www.dr-gonzalez.com

Nutritional Solutions
www.nutritional-solutions.net

Optimum Health Institute
www.optimumhealth.org

People Against Cancer
www.peopleagainstcancer.com

Simonton Cancer Center
www.simontoncenter.com

The Work
www.thework.com

 
 
 
 
 
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