Glossary Term:


alternative medicine



An unproven or disproven therapy that is used instead of standard (proven) medical treatment. Some examples of alternative medicines are special diets, certain supplements or herbs, or high doses of vitamins. The American Cancer Society recommends that patients thinking about using any alternative therapy discuss it first with a member of their cancer care team. 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. See also complementary therapy.