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, 1 (3), 173-179

Alternative and Complementary Cancer Treatments

  • PMID: 10387984

Alternative and Complementary Cancer Treatments

BR Cassileth. Oncologist.


Alternative and complementary therapies differ importantly, and the distinction between the two is crucial for clinical oncologists. "Alternative" or unproven therapies are treatments used independent of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. They can be dangerous directly and also by delaying patients' receipt of mainstream care. In contrast, complementary therapies typically are adjuncts to mainstream medicine. They can provide symptom control and noninvasive palliation with minimal side effects, improve patients' well-being and enhance cancer medicine. Complementary therapies represent a desired addition and balance to technologically sophisticated cancer care.

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