Complementary & Alternative Medicine

Information from the Canadian Cancer Society :

"[…] To understand how a complementary therapy may be used, it helps to understand what we mean by conventional cancer treatments and complementary therapies.

Conventional cancer treatments are the treatments currently accepted and widely used in the Canadian healthcare system. They are sometimes called mainstream cancer treatments. Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are all examples of conventional cancer treatments. These treatments are given by healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses and radiation therapists. They destroy cancer cells or treat them so they don’t grow and spread.

Complementary therapies are used together with conventional cancer treatments. Alternative therapies are used instead of conventional cancer treatments. For example, if you meditate before radiation therapy to help with anxiety, you’re using meditation as a complementary therapy. But if you choose not to have radiation therapy and meditate instead because you think meditation will cure your cancer, you’re using meditation as an alternative therapy.

You have the right to choose whether or not to take the treatment your doctor recommends. You can accept or refuse some or all of the conventional, complementary and alternative therapies offered to you. Refusing to have conventional cancer treatment is a personal decision. If you postpone or refuse conventional cancer treatment and try an alternative therapy, keep in contact with your healthcare team. Your healthcare team may not agree with your decision, but it’s important for someone to keep track of how you’re doing. You may decide to use conventional cancer treatment later."

Canadian Cancer Society> Cancer information > Diagnosis and treatment >  Complementary therapies

BC Cancer Agency (BCCA)
The BC Cancer Agency’s mandate covers the spectrum of cancer care from prevention and screening, to diagnosis, treatment, and through to rehabilitation.> Health Info > Coping with Cancer > Complimentary & Alternative Therapies

Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors
The Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND) is the national association for qualified naturopathic doctors across Canada.  

National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
Established in 1998, the NCCIH (formerly known as National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) as part of the National Institutes of Health, is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on the diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine. > Health Info >  Complementary, Alternative or Integrative Health: What's in a name?
 Herbs at a Glance
 (also available as an app under the name HerbListTM)

American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. > Finding Support & Treatment > Treatments and Side Effects >  Complementary and Alternative Medicine

National Cancer Institute
The US Government's main agency for cancer research and training.> About Cancer >Cancer Treatment >  Complementary and Alternative Medicine  

MedlinePlus (Developed by the National Library of Medicine)
The website provides information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language that is easy to understand.  Health Topics > Diagnosis and Therapy >  Complementary and Alternative Therapies

Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education for people from all walks of life.> Patient Care & Health Info > Healthy Lifestyle > Consumer Health > In-Depth 
 Alternative Cancer Treatments: 10 Options to Consider
>  Integrative medicine: Find out what works

Natural Medicines
An evidence-based database available for consultation at the JGH (on-site, at the Health Sciences Library, etc.)

Related Readings and Mobile Apps
 Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Cancer Care. JAMA Oncology Patient Page.

 Prevalence and Nondisclosure of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Patients With Cancer and Cancer Survivors in the United States. JAMA Oncology Research Letter.

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