How Are Complementary Methods Used to Manage Cancer?

Some people believe that our current medical treatment in the US, which we refer to as mainstream medicine, is the only option they have when it comes to treating symptoms and side effects, relieving pain, and improving quality of life. But there are many complementary treatments you can use safely, right along with your medical treatment. Some people find that certain complementary methods are very useful to help control certain symptoms and improve the quality of their lives. They don’t expect these methods to treat or cure the cancer.

Some cancer treatment centers offer some of these complementary therapies. (See “Integrative therapy” in the section called “What kinds of cancer treatment are there?”) That means you get can get safe complementary treatments at your cancer treatment center without having to go out and find them yourself.

How can you know if the method you’re thinking about is safe and whether it will help you? The information here can help you understand more about safety and think about whether and how you might want to use complementary or alternative methods.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: March 31, 2015 Last Revised: March 31, 2015

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