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Alternative Therapy for Cancer

What is alternative therapy?

Alternative therapy (or alternative medication) is a non-conventional approach to healing. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are usually discussed together, but are actually two different therapy approaches:

Some people use complementary treatments to relieve symptoms or side effects while undergoing standard/conventional treatment (such as pain relief during cancer treatment). Standard/conventional medicine refers to medical treatments that have been scientifically tested and found to be safe and effective. The standard/conventional treatments have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Other people may decide to pursue either complementary or alternative therapy. It is highly recommended that you consult your child's physician before beginning any treatment regime, as these treatments are not scientifically tested or proven.

What are the different types of CAM?

Many different fields make up the practice of complementary and alternative medicine. In addition, many components of one field may overlap with the components of another field (i.e., acupuncture). Examples of CAM include:

Before considering CAM:

Most complementary and alternative medicine fields are not standardized or controlled by any Western medical guidelines. Always consult with your child's physician before beginning any complementary or alternative medicine therapy, because some therapies may interfere with standard treatment.

Being an informed healthcare consumer when considering complementary or alternative is important. Ways to gather information before starting any therapy include:

What warning signs may indicate a fraudulent therapy?

According to the American Cancer Society, if a treatment has the following warning signs, it is better to avoid:

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