We recommend that patients consult medical, surgical and radiation oncologists as well as naturopathic physicians, specialists in Chinese medical oncology and other complementary medicine clinicians if interested in using the therapies mentioned in this website. We do not recommend that the therapies mentioned in this website be used instead of conventional cancer treatment.
The core of Integrative Oncology is the well coordinated use of conventional and complementary approaches that work synergistically with each other. Some complementary therapies, particularly those involving herbal compounds, may have synergistic effects with conventional cancer treatments or may interfere with them. Therefore it is crucial that patients consult with accredited complementary professionals to avoid interfering with their conventional treatment. Most complementary therapies, however, are used to enhance quality of life by means of helping the patient feel more relaxed and by helping manage pain, nauseas or other cancer or treatment related symptoms.
Integrative Oncology is an emerging field of medicine. There is no current official training that prepares oncologists to become "integrative oncologists." However, some naturopathic physicians are board certified in naturopathic oncology and have therefore received training on how to use complementary therapies along with conventional cancer treatments. Likewise, Chinese medical oncology is a distinct discipline and specialty. Clinical oncology nutritionists are also an excellent source of information about diet and nutritional supplements.
For a list of integrated oncology clinics within academic centers see resource list below:
Should herbal medicine be used concurrently with chemotherapy?
During the last 10 years, health food stores, pharmacies and even grocery stores began selling hundreds of different supplements claiming anti-cancer properties. The supplement industry has reached monstrous proportions and navigating the information about these supplements on the Internet can be daunting. Many of these products even claim to be supported by research studies showing their efficacy in preventing cancer. But the reality is, very few products have been tested in a way that really indicates if the product has truly anti-cancer effects and if it is safe to be used as a supplement.
We recommend that if you are interested in taking any of these supplements, you consult a naturopathic physician who is board certified in oncology or TCM practitioner who received training in cancer care. Naturopathic physicians or NDs are licensed in the state of Washington to provide care using natural products and they are trained to recommend what products may be beneficial for your personal situation. NDs will also be able to see if any other medication you may be currently taking could interact with a supplement and cause unnecessary side effects.