Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Integrative Care)
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), also called integrative care, includes a range of therapies that can help alleviate side effects of breast cancer treatment and improve quality of life. Many people use CAM therapies along with conventional medical treatment, and the combination is sometimes called integrative medicine or integrative care. Examples of CAM therapies are acupuncture, herbs and vitamins, meditation and visualization, touch therapies like massage and Reiki, and more. It is essential to discuss any use of CAM therapies with your medical team.
There are a wide variety of complementary and alternative medicine resources in this section, including integrative care programs, and wellness resources such as massage, yoga, exercise, nutrition, and more.
How can I learn more about CAM?
A good place to start is with the website of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health. You’ll find fact sheets such as: "What is CAM?" and "Selecting a CAM Practitioner." www.nccam.nih.gov/
Also see MedlinePlus, a service of the National Library of Medicine and NIH, and check the Online Resources section of this Directory.
What are good things to keep in mind about CAM?
- Keep your health care providers, including doctors and nurses, informed about any CAM practices you use. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.
- Be aware that some dietary supplements can interact with other supplements and with some medications.
- Avoid following only one path of therapy or thinking one path can be the whole solution.
- Remember that a testimonial is just one person’s experience. A CAM therapy that works for one person may not work for everyone.
- Rely on common sense. Listen to your own body. Use any CAM therapy in moderation.
What are some benefits CAM can offer?
Hands-on practices like mind-body practices and energy work can help with symptoms such as pain, stress, and depression. They can help to bring the body back into balance and to heal.
Sami Diab, MD, Oncologist, Colorado Integrative Cancer Care, Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers and Sandy Priester, Executive Director, LifeSpark Cancer Resources
Use the Search Tool below to find complementary and alternative medicine resources in your area.