Background: Physicians are often asked about complementary therapies by patients with cancer, and data show that the interest in and use of these therapies among patients with cancer is common. Therefore, it is important to assess the current evidence base on the benefits and risks of complementary therapies (modalities not historically used in modern Western medicine).
Methods: A systematic literature review was carried out and recommendations were made according to the American College of Chest Physicians Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines development methodology.
Results: A large number of randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses, as well as a number of prospective cohort studies, met the predetermined inclusion criteria. These trials addressed many different issues pertaining to patients with lung cancer, such as symptoms of anxiety, mood disturbance, pain, quality of life, and treatment-related side effects. The available data cover a variety of interventions, including acupuncture, nutrition, mind-body therapies, exercise, and massage. The body of evidence supports a series of recommendations. An evidenced-based approach to modern cancer care should integrate complementary therapies with standard cancer therapies such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and best supportive care measures.
Conclusions: Several complementary therapy modalities can be helpful in improving the overall care of patients with lung cancer.