Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Health Professionals

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard medical care. CAM for cancer care involves the patient's mind, body, and spirit, and includes multidisciplinary approaches. Evidence-based complementary medicine modalities may be integrated as part of standard cancer care for all patients across the cancer continuum. 

Standard treatments are based on scientific evidence from research studies. Despite claims of promising benefits made by CAM treatment providers, many CAM treatments lack good scientific evidence of their safety and effectiveness. Studies are under way to determine the safety and efficacy of many CAM agents and practices for cancer patients.

NCI has evidence-based PDQ information summaries for the integrative, alternative, and complementary therapies listed below.