Choose Practitioners with Care
CAM practitioners are people who have training in the therapies listed previously. Choosing one should be done with the same care as choosing a doctor. Here are some things to remember when choosing a practitioner:
- Ask your doctor or nurse to suggest someone or speak with someone who knows about CAM.
- Ask whether someone at your cancer center or doctor's office can help you find a CAM practitioner. There may be a social worker or physical therapist who can help you.
- Ask whether your hospital keeps lists of centers or has staff who can suggest people.
- Contact CAM professional organizations to get names of practitioners who are certified. This means that they have proper training in their field. (See Resources.)
- Contact local health and wellness organizations.
- Ask about each practitioner's training and experience.
- Ask whether the practitioner has a license to practice in your state. If you want to confirm the answer, ask what organization gives out the licenses. Then, you may choose to follow up with a phone call.
- Call your health care plan to see if it covers this therapy.
What general questions should I ask the CAM practitioner?
- What types of CAM do you practice?
- What are your training and qualifications?
- Do you see other patients with my type of cancer?
- Will you work with my doctor?
What questions about the therapy should I ask the CAM practitioner?
- How can this help me?
- Do you know of studies that prove it helps?
- What are the risks and side effects?
- Will this interfere with my cancer treatment?
- How long will I be on the therapy?
- What will it cost?
- Do you have information that I can read about it?
- Are there any reasons why I should not use it?
Other Questions To Ask Yourself
- Do I feel comfortable with this person?
- Do I like how the office looks and feels?
- Do I like the staff?
- Does this person support standard cancer treatments?
- How far am I willing to travel for treatment?
- Is it easy to get an appointment?
- Are the hours good for me?
- Will insurance cover the cost of CAM?
Call your health plan or insurer to see whether they cover CAM therapies. Many are not covered.