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You have many choices to make before, during, and after your lung cancer treatment.
One choice you may be thinking about is complementary and alternative medicine. We call this CAM, for short.
People with cancer may use CAM to:
It's natural to want to fight your cancer in any way you can. There is a lot of information available, and new methods for treating cancer are always being tested, so it may be hard to know where to start.
This information may help you understand if CAM is right for you. Many people try CAM therapies during cancer care. CAM does not work for everyone, but some methods may help you manage stress, nausea, pain, or other symptoms or side effects.
The most important message is to talk to your doctor before you try anything new. This will help ensure that nothing gets in the way of your cancer treatment.
What is Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
CAM is any medical system, practice, or product that is not thought of as standard care. Standard medical care is care that is based on scientific evidence. For cancer, it includes chemotherapy, radiation, biological therapy, and surgery.
Complementary medicine is used along with standard medical treatments. One example is using acupuncture to help with side effects of cancer treatment.
Alternative medicine is used in place of standard medical treatments. One example is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of a method that a cancer specialist (an oncologist) suggests.
Integrative medicine is a total approach to care that involves the patient's mind, body, and spirit. It combines standard medicine with the CAM practices that have shown the most promise. For example, some people learn to use relaxation as a way to reduce stress during chemotherapy.
Types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
We are learning about CAM therapies every day, but there is still more to learn. Consumers may use the terms "natural," "holistic," "home remedy," or "Eastern medicine" to refer to CAM. However, experts use five categories to describe it.
These are based on the belief that your mind is able to affect your body. Some examples are:
Biologically Based Practices
This type of CAM uses things found in nature. This includes dietary supplements and herbal products. Some examples are:
A note about nutrition: It's common for people with lung cancer to have questions about different foods to eat during treatment. Yet it's important to know that there is no one food or special diet that has been proven to control cancer. Too much of any one food is not helpful, and may even be harmful. Because of nutrition needs you may have, it's best to talk with the doctor in charge of your treatment about the foods you should be eating.
Manipulative and Body-Based Practices
These are based on working with one or more parts of the body. Some examples are:
Energy medicine involves the belief that the body has energy fields that can be used for healing and wellness. Therapists use pressure or move the body by placing their hands in or through these fields. Some examples are:
Whole Medical Systems
These are healing systems and beliefs that have evolved over time in different cultures and parts of the world. Some examples are:
Talk with Your Doctor Before You Use CAM
Some people with cancer are afraid that their doctor won't understand or approve of the use of CAM. But doctors know that people with cancer want to take an active part in their care. They want the best for their patients and often are willing to work with them.
Talk to your doctor to make sure that all aspects of your cancer care work together. This is important because things that seem safe, such as certain foods or pills, may interfere with your cancer treatment.
Educational information provided by The National Cancer Institute (NCI) Internet site.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2009 20:10|