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Use of Complementary Medicine

Posted 12/29/2013

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  Virtually everyone who is diagnosed with cancer considers the use of CAM (complementary/alternative medicine). Blessedly, most people think about adding some treatment to their standard western medical care. Sadly (to me, anyway), a few people turn away from recommended surgery or radiation or chemotherapy and embrace only alternative methods. It is always possible to hear stories of cancers that were seemingly cured by Essiac Tea or special diets, but always listen with big skepticism and remember that there are many unexplained responses in the world of medicine.

  Most women whom I have known think about acupuncture or Reiki to help with symptoms or diets to enhance general health. The very big caveat is to always talk with your doctor about your plans; tell your medical oncologist or radiation oncologist what you are doing and be forthright with any alternative practitioner whom you are seeing. Many doctors will support any external (anything that you don't swallow) treatments during active cancer care, but will prefer that you hold off on vitamins or supplements until you are done with radiation and chemotherapy.

  This is an article from Breast Care, a German publication, that reports a study done in Europe. Interestingly, most Euorpean women are more interested in oral complementary treatments. Please remember to think about who is making money from whatever you are buying and that anything that sounds too good to be true, likely is

  Here is the summary. If you would like to read the whole article, email me, and I am happy to share it.Can't figure out how to add it as a link.

Commonly Used Methods of Complementary Medicine in the Treatment of Breast Cancer

Jutta Hübnera Volker Hanfb
aDr. Senckenberg Chronomedical Institute, J.W. Goethe University, Frankfurt,
bFrauenklinik Nathanstift, Klinikum Fürth, Germany

Many patients with cancer look for information on complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) and use various CAM methods. Women with breast cancer are amongst the most avid users. Patients in Europe prefer drug-bound CAM methods, which are prone to side effects and drug interactions. In order to reduce these risks, communication between the patient and the physician on CAM is indispensible. Yet, most patients do not discuss CAM in general and complementary drug therapy
in particular with their oncologists and most oncologists themselves are not overly familiar with the topic.
This article gives an overview on the most often used CAM methods with regard to breast cancer. The current state of the scientific evidence, the benefits and risks are summarized.


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