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“The Best of Eastern & Western Medicine”
You may want to explore non-conventional methods for coping with treatments, side effects, and emotional stress during your cancer journey. Together with alternative cancer treatment such methods are referred to as Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). When complementary methods are used along with conventional cancer treatment, the approach is called integrative medicine.
Fight Colorectal Cancer supports cancer treatments that are:
- Developed through well-designed, scientifically rigorous clinical trials.
- Approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Emerging as the result of clinical trials evidence reported in peer-reviewed, scientific journals and shown to be safe and effective.
- If they include experimental or unproven medicines or treatments, are provided as part of a clinical trial
We also support complementary methods which effectively enhance quality of life during and after treatment, are proven safe, and which have been shown not to do not interfere with treatment effectiveness.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, (NCCAM) the lead federal CAM research agency and part of the National Institutes of Health, defines the differences between complementary and alternative medicine.
Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using aromatherapy to help lessen a patient’s discomfort following surgery.
Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of an alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a conventional doctor.
Integrative medicine combines treatments from conventional medicine and CAM for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
You should not consider alternative medical approaches to treat colon or rectal cancer since, so far, none of these methods have been proven either safe or effective. Trying alternatives can prevent or delay effective treatments that might lead to a cure or to longer survival. And many are simply not safe, some are deadly.
Often, there is no conclusive scientific evidence on the safety or effectiveness of a particular complementary method. Some have been shown to be harmful to patients undergoing standard treatment for cancer. Others may interfere with the action of chemotherapy or have dangerous interactions with drugs used to treat side effects.
Where Can You Go for More Information?
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
NCCAM is the federal government’s lead agency for scientific research on CAM. NCCAM is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, training CAM researchers, and providing authoritative information to health professionals and the public.
NCCAM Clearinghouse provides information on NCCAM and on CAM, including fact sheets, publications, videos, and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. Publications include:
- Talking about Complementary and Alternative Medicine with Health Care Providers: A Workbook and Tips (National Cancer Institute’s Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine)
- Are You Considering Using Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)?
- Selecting a Complementary and Alternative Medicine Practitioner
- Paying for CAM Treatment
CAM on PubMed searches the National Library of Medicine database for a subset of scientific articles limited to research on complementary or alternative methods.
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
MSKCC’s web site is an excellent resource for integrative medicine. It includes information on clinical trials for complementary cancer therapies and a section on herbs and botanicals that can be easily searched or browsed.
Steven Barrett’s Quackwatch
Dr. Barrett applies rigorous scientific standards to complementary and alternative medicine claims. His site contains good information about studies of the effectiveness of alternative methods and warnings about safety issues. It is easy to search and written for the lay public.