Do Alternative Approaches To Cancer Care Help Treat The Disease Itself?

Linda A. Lee, M.D,

Question: Do alternative approaches to cancer care help treat the disease itself or do they help ease the side effects of cancer treatment?

Answer:We use other approaches at the integrative medicine center mostly to manage the side effects and complications related to chemotherapy and radiation. Such side effects are numerous -- these include nausea, vomiting, changes in bowel habits, bloating -- and many of these symptoms can really trouble patients tremendously and interfere with the quality of their lives. We live to explore the use of acupuncture and massage therapy, as well as nutrition counseling, to help support patients through chemotherapy and the recovery from it. And so we don't necessarily recommend these approaches to substitute for the conventional therapies that they're using for cancer, but to actually help support them through this very difficult period.