Glossary Term:


alternative therapy



an unproven therapy that is used instead of standard (proven) medical treatment. Some alternative therapies are known to cause harmful or even life-threatening side effects. With others, the main danger is that the patient may lose the chance to benefit from standard treatment. The American Cancer Society recommends that patients thinking about using any alternative or complementary therapy discuss it first with a member of their health care team to be sure that they know all their options. See also complementary therapy.