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Living With Cancer

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Marti Nelson Cancer Foundation perspective on alternative and complementary Treatments for cancer patients

MNCF supports cancer treatments developed through scientifically-rigorous clinical trials.  We support new treatments which have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the evolution of treatments through clinical trials as reported in peer-reviewed publications.

A growing interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has stimulated research on the efficacy and dangers involved with CAM.

Complementary medicine generally refers to non-traditional therapies which are used in combination with standard treatments, such as massage, herbs and so on.  Complementary medicine is usually focused on symptom relief and other quality of life issues.

Frequently, there is no conclusive scientific evidence on the impact of a particular complementary therapy. Some therapies — mega-vitamin doses and herbal supplements, for example — have been shown to be harmful to patients undergoing standard treatment for cancer.

Alternative medicine generally refers to treatments used instead of standard treatments.  We do not recognize or endorse any so-called "miracle cures" or alternative treatments for cancer.

If you are considering any unproven or non-traditional complementary therapies, take two steps before you accept them:

  1. Research the therapy carefully and completely.
  2. Discuss the therapy fully with your physician.

Where Can You Go For More Information?

We recommend the following resources for more information on complementary or alternative therapies: