complementary and alternative medicine (cam) is any medical and health care systems, practices, or products that are not thought of as standard medical care. although claims made by cam treatment providers about the benefits of the treatments can sound promising, we do not know how safe many cam treatments are or how well they work. if you are using or considering using a complementary or alternative therapy, you should talk with your doctor or nurse. some cam therapies may interfere with standard treatment or even be harmful. see our overview on cam for more information. nci has evidence-based pdq information summaries for the integrative, alternative, and complementary therapies listed below. these summaries are no longer being updated. no ongoing studies are being conducted for these topics. the summaries are provided for reference purposes only.714-x (pdq®)patient | health professional
complementary therapies are used to: talk with your health care team before trying or adding any complementary therapies to your standard treatment. when you discuss a complementary therapy with your health care team and they agree that it is safe to try as part of your overall cancer care, this is called “integrative medicine.” there is scientific evidence that these complementary therapies can be helpful and people with cancer find them useful for improving their quality of life: acupuncture involves the use of very thin needles or pressure to stimulate specific points on the body. this can lead to changes in the brain, such as the release of chemicals like serotonin or changes in electrical activity. acupuncture is a common practice in traditional chinese medicine and there is more and more research showing how acupuncture can help people with cancer with different side effects. yoga helps to reduce stress, calm the mind, and connect mind and body. meditation is the practice of focusing your attention to calm the mind and relax the body. other times, you might only focus on your breathing or just being aware of thoughts and feelings with no judgement, attachment, or interpretation.
there are many different types, including focused meditation, open awareness and mindfulness, and compassion or loving-kindness meditation. this kind of therapy works especially well for people receiving palliative treatments and those staying in the hospital. people with cancer may especially benefit from massage and its subspecialty called oncology massage. in addition to receiving massage from a massage therapist, a caregiver can do simple massage to help you relax. even if you were not active before your cancer diagnosis, an exercise program that meets your unique needs can help you get moving safely and successfully. eating nutritious foods help people with cancer get important nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. and, sometimes the side effects of cancer treatment can cause a person to experience appetite loss, weight loss, or weight gain. it is especially important to talk with your health care team before you take any dietary or herbal supplements, to check for possible drug interactions with your cancer treatment. your health care team can help you find complementary therapies that will help you feel better.
types of therapies used in complementary and alternative medicine (cam) in cancer care, such as mind-body methods like meditation and yoga, complementary medicine refers to treatments that are used with standard medical treatments, like using acupuncture to help with side effects of cancer treatment cam treatments do not work for everyone. some methods, such as acupuncture, might help with nausea, pain and other side effects of cancer, alternative therapies for cancer pain, alternative therapies for cancer pain, what should cancer patients do when using cam therapies?, what should cancer patients do when using and considering cam therapies?, cam therapy examples.
complementary and integrative medicine are products and practices used along with standard medical care to help manage symptoms and side effects from cancer and which treatments are worth trying? acupuncture. during acupuncture treatment, a practitioner inserts tiny needles into your skin at precise points. about complementary and alternative therapies a complementary therapy means you can use it alongside your conventional medical treatment. it may help you to, complementary and alternative therapies, complementary therapy, cam practitioners, biologically based therapies examples, alternatives to chemotherapy, using the nih website, how would you describe cam and the typical person who uses cam, immunotherapy cancer treatment, i survived cancer without treatment, what is conventional medicine, conventional treatment.
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