This blog is also available on the CancerFightClub site: http://www.cancerfightclub.com/community/our-blog/post/973
A lot of patients are seeking unconventional treatments to complement traditional curative cancer therapies (such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery), therefore it is essential that they be well guided in their decisions towards safe methods that are based on scientific evidence. These methods, found within the clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO)* have almost no side effects. In fact, they can help diminish side effects resulting from other cancer treatments (such as nausea and pain). As a result, they can reduce the need for additional medication and so help a person to avoid any additional side effects. Some complementary therapies can help to boost a person’s immune system and biochemical profile. Others can help modify habits and increase sleep.
The SIO has existed for ten years, and includes a number of important oncology institutions, such as Memorial-Sloan Kettering in New York, MD Anderson in Texas and Mayo Clinic. Integrative oncology is an evidence-based science, as well as a philosophy, that encourages doctor-patient communication. It puts forward many different therapies for treating not only the disease, but, also the whole person (all biopsychosocial aspects of well being), and overall healing capacity.
Some tips for individuals interested in consulting professionals who offer different forms of unconventional treatments:
1) Be sure the treatment you plan on following is safe and has been sufficiently researched and approved. You can find information on this issue in the resources listed below. The SIO guidelines explain the difference between an unconventional treatment method that is considered complementary, and one that is considered alternative.
2) Be sure the therapist you consult has experience in oncology.
3) Be sure that there are no contraindications for the specific treatment you plan to follow according to your specific condition. For example, acupuncture is contraindicated for people who bleed easily.
* Society of Integrative Oncology Guidelines.
Deng GE, et al. Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative oncology: complementary therapies and botanicals. J Soc Integr Oncol. 2009 Summer;7(3):85-120.
Free download: http://www.integrativeonc.org/index.php/pguide
Other sources of information on complementary therapy:
National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources
The Cochrane Review Organization