Pictures of Complementary Therapies

Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work

MARCH 28, 2018

  Over the years of doing this blog, I have often written about complementary therapies (CAM). The quick bottom line is that there is no evidence that any of them effectively treat, let alone cure or prevent, cancer, but there is a lot of evidence that they can be helpful with symptom control and a general sense of well-being. Recently, for example, a study suggested that acupuncture may reduce neuropathy that can plague people during and after chemotherapy with Taxol or Taxotere. 

  Most physicians don't know too much about specific CAM therapies, and are diverse in their opinions. Most oncologists ask their patients not to ingest any CAM supplements (or vitamins or other pills or teas or tonics) during active treatment. The research has not been done to indicate whether there might be negative interactions between pill X and chemotherapy or radiation. Actually, we do know that large doses of some vitamins may reduce the efficacy of radiation, so patients are routinely asked to stop any supplements during the days or weeks of treatment. There is less concern about exterior CAM therapies: massage or Reiki or yoga. The usual recommendation there is that anything that helps you feel better is a good plan.

  One strong request: Please always tell your doctors what you are doing/taking/considering. The final choice is yours, but full disclosure will help you get the best care.

  This is an introduction to an article from WebMD that may not tell you anything that you don't already know,  but that does include pictures. That's kind of unusual. Here is the start and a link:

Complementary Treatments for Cancer: A Slideshow

Therapies to Ease Your Symptoms

When you’re feeling the symptoms of cancer or treatment side effects -- pain, nausea, fatigue, anxiety -- you may want to look beyond standard medicine for solutions. Complementary therapies won’t treat or cure the disease, but many of them can help you feel better and blend safely into your care. Before you try one, be sure to talk about it with your doctor.


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