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Prostate Cancer Library
Alternative Medicine in Treating Prostate Cancer

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Cancer Treatment: Questions and Answer...

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Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Cancer Treatment: Questions and Answers Key Points Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, pra READ MORE
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/therapy/CAM
Conventional approaches to cancer treatment have generally been studied for safety and effectiveness through a rigorous scientific process that includes clinical trials with large numbers of patients. Less is known about the safety and effectiveness of complementary and alternative methods. Some CAM therapies have undergone rigorous evaluation. A small number of CAM therapies originally considered to be purely alternative approaches are finding a place in cancer treatment—not as cures, but as complementary therapies that may help patients feel better and recover faster. One example is acupuncture. According to a panel of experts at a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Conference in November 1997, acupuncture has been found to be effective in the management of chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting and in controlling pain associated with surgery. In contrast, some approaches, such as the use of laetrile, have been studied and found ineffective or potentially harmful. What is the Best Case Series Program? The Best Case Series Program, which was started by the NCI in 1991, is one way CAM approaches that are being used in practice are being evaluated. The program is overseen by the NCI’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM). Health care professionals who offer CAM services submit their patients’ medical records and related materials to OCCAM. OCCAM conducts a critical review of the materials and develops follow-up research strategies for approaches that have therapeutic potential. Are the NCI and NCCAM sponsoring clinical trials in complementary and alternative medicine? The NCI and NCCAM are currently sponsoring or cosponsoring various clinical trials to study complementary and alternative treatments for cancer. Some of these trials study the effects of complementary approaches used in addition to conventional treatments, while others compare alternative therapies with conventional treatments. Current trials include the following: Acupuncture to reduce the symptoms of advanced colorectal cancer Combination chemotherapy plus radiation therapy with or without shark cartilage in the treatment of patients who have non-small cell lung cancer that cannot be removed by surgery Hyperbaric oxygen therapy with laryngectomy patients (people who have had an operation to remove all or part of the larynx (voice box)) Massage therapy for cancer-related fatigue Chemotherapy compared with pancreatic enzyme therapy plus specialized diet for the treatment of pancreatic cancer Mistletoe extract and chemotherapy for the treatment of solid tumors Patients who are interested in taking part in these or any clinical trials should talk with their doctor. The NCI, NCCAM, and OCCAM clinical trials databases offer patients, family members, and health professionals information about research studies that use CAM. Clinical trials can be found by searching: The NCI’s PDQ® Clinical Trials Database—The PDQ Clinical Trials database can be searched at http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/search using such criteria as cancer type, type of trial, geographic region, trial sponsorship, and/or drug name. This information is also available by calling the NCI’s Cancer Information Service (see below). The NCCAM Clinical Trials Web page—Clinical trials can be searched by type of treatment or disease at http://nccam.nih.gov/clinicaltrials/ on the Internet. The OCCAM Clinical Trials Web page—Links are provided to the NCI’s clinical trials databases at http://www.cancer.gov/cam/clinicaltrials_intro.html on the Internet. What should patients do when using or considering complementary and alternative therapies? Cancer patients using or considering complementary or alternative therapy should discuss this decision with their doctor or nurse, as they would any therapeutic approach. Some complementary and alternative therapies may interfere wi
The International Medical Oncology Library , New York Assisted Living Library
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