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Well-Being During Treatment

Integrative Cancer Care

The emergence of integrative medicine (IM) has prompted greater awareness of the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies as part of cancer care. When a CAM therapy is used in addition to chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery, it's referred to as a "complementary" therapy. When a therapy is used alone or instead of the proven standard of care, it's referred to as an "alternative" therapy.

IM has grown partly in response to efforts by patients to take a more active role in their healthcare and use therapies that focus on overall health and healing. IM combines CAM therapies, such as acupuncture, massage or meditation, with standard treatments (also called mainstream, conventional, Western, allopathic or proven treatments).

By integrating CAM therapies into conventional treatment plans, doctors are better able to address the physical, emotional, spiritual and quality-of-life needs of patients. However, before CAM can be recommended and used as part of a treatment plan, scientific evidence must show that it's safe and effective.

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last updated on Wednesday, March 16, 2011
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