Complementary and alternative medicine in pediatric oncology

Semin Oncol Nurs. 2005 May;21(2):107-14; discussion 115-24. doi: 10.1016/j.soncn.2004.12.007.


Objectives: To summarize research in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies used for children with cancer and to explore issues and directions for measuring outcomes of CAM therapies in children.

Data sources: Scientific and research articles, internet for active research studies.

Conclusion: CAM is increasingly used as adjunctive cancer therapies in pediatrics. Mind-body and touch therapies have the greatest evidencefor effectiveness in reducing psychological and physical stressors. Supplements and herbal therapies receive the greatest interest, however, and more research is needed to determine efficacy in improving symptoms or outcomes in children with cancer.

Implications for nursing practice: Mind-body and touch therapies can be used by nurses to reduce symptoms and anxiety in children. Potential risks and benefits should be determined for therapies that have no evidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Complementary Therapies / organization & administration*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Forecasting
  • Goals
  • Health Priorities
  • Health Services Needs and Demand
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nursing Evaluation Research / organization & administration*
  • Oncology Nursing / organization & administration
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Pediatric Nursing / organization & administration
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Psychoneuroimmunology / organization & administration
  • Research Design
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome