Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Not sure what complementary and alternative therapies are? Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a way of treating patients with an array of healing philosophies, approaches and therapies that embrace a holistic approach to care - treating the mind, body and spirit. 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.
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Because we want to be sure that our visitors find the most relevant resources, we've listed these organizations in order of relevancy from most specifically relevant to most generally relevant to the topic of this page.
Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM)
Contact: (800) 422-6237
Population served: Worldwide
OCCAM coordinates and enhances the activities of the National Cancer Institute in the arena of CAM. Its mission is to improve the quality of care of cancer patients, as well as those at risk for cancer and those recovering from cancer treatment, by contributing to the advancement of evidence-based CAM practice and the sciences that support it.
- Offers a call center
- Provides information about various treatment options (an A-to-Z listing), some foods, supplements and vitamins
- Furnishes links to NCI's clinical trials database specifically showing CAM trials that are currently recruiting patients
- Provides suggestions on how to identify potential resources for financial assistance with CAM therapies
- Lists integrative medicine programs at NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Contact: (888) 644-6226 (United States) or (301) 519-3153 (International)
Population served: Patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals worldwide
NCCAM is the federal government's lead agency for scientific research on CAM.
- Offers a call center
- Explores complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science
- Disseminates information to the public and professionals
- Provides educational materials about CAM therapies, including herbs and supplements