Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Published on 04/03/2015 by admin

Filed under Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Medicine

Last modified 04/03/2015

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Chapter 33

Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Summary of Key Points

• Complementary and alternative medicine encompasses various approaches to all aspects of medical assessment and management that are not commonly or extensively applied or recommended by conventional western medical practitioners.

• Complementary and alternative medicine approaches are frequently used by patients, but patients often do not discuss their use of these approaches with their health care team.

• Some products purported to be dietary supplements may be unsafe for patients with cancer because of adverse effects of the natural components, adverse interactions with medications, contamination with toxic compounds, or adulteration with drugs.

• St. John’s wort and potentially various other herbal products can significantly alter the pharmacokinetics of certain chemotherapy drugs, such as irinotecan.

• High-dose alpha-tocopherol (i.e., 400 IU per day) should not be given to patients with head and neck cancer who are receiving radiation therapy with curative intent.

• Acupuncture can be useful for managing cancer pain and postsurgical pain.

• Exercise can be an effective intervention for preventing and managing cancer-related fatigue.

• Yoga may be effective in preventing or managing fatigue and improving sleep and quality of life in patients with cancer.

• Acupuncture, ginger, hypnosis, relaxation therapy, and imagery can provide additional relief from chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in patients receiving standard antiemetic regimens.

• High-dose oral glutamine and intravenous glutathione may decrease the frequency of neuropathy from drugs containing paclitaxel and platinum.

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