Integrative Oncology

What Is Integrative Oncology?

Complementary medicine is used to describe therapeutic techniques that are not part of conventional medicine (also called “standard” or “western” medicine). Complementary therapies are used as a “complement” or addition to conventional medicine. When complementary medicine is integrated with conventional medical treatment for cancer patients, it is also called “Integrative Oncology.”

How Does Integrative Oncology Work?

The goal of Integrative Oncology is to balance the whole person — physically, mentally, and emotionally — while conventional medicine does its work. Several studies in cancer patients suggest that complementary medicine can improve mood and quality of life, and relieve symptoms. This stress relief might help your immune system function better and allow you to better cope with treatment-related side effects.

Integrative therapy can help you reduce the following symptoms:

  • Complex cancer pain
  • Nausea/vomiting or constipation
  • Lymphedema
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Depression and anxiety

Scientific Research

Although complementary medicine techniques have been used for centuries, the availability of scientific data on many of these techniques has been limited. But as complementary therapies become more popular and well known, more research is being done. This research includes studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

What types of complementary treatments are there?

There is no scientific evidence that any complementary therapy can cure cancer. Complementary therapies work best combined with conventional medical treatments as part of your total treatment plan. Always talk to your doctor about any complementary therapy you would like to try.

For more information on the Integrative Oncology Program and services offered at the Huntington Cancer Center, contact us today.

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