this page last modified
Complementary Therapies (CT)
Complementary therapies, or CT for short, are outside the practices of most conventional physcians, but are generally recognized as safe to use along with chemotherapy and radiation. CTs can improve the quality of life of the patient, relieve symptoms, relieve side effects, ease pain, and give the patient a better outlook on life. CTs include therapies like art and music therapy, meditation, reiki, yoga, aromatherapy, and also nutrition and vitamin supplements.
Important: discuss complementary (or alternative) therapies that you plan to use with your child's oncologist to make sure that they do not interfere with the treatment.
If you do not find a specific therapy in the list below, check cancer.gov, NCCAM, CancerNet, Healthfinder, Carol Anne's site, or Longwood Herbal Task Force (web site LHTF). The links for these sites are on the ped-onc CAM sites page. Or, look them up on the PubMed CAM journal article search page. You can also go to Commonweal, and enter the therapy you are interested in on their search page.
A good site that covers a lot of these therapies is the Center for Mind-Body Medicine site. Try the Conference Page on Comprehensive Cancer Care. This page lists the Conferences from 1998-2001, with transcripts or summaries of all the talks. For instance, go to the 2000 conference: CAM Therapies in Pediatric Oncology.
Whether or not we can give our kids vitamin supplements or common herbal supplements such as echinacea is a recurrent thread in the online e-mail discussion groups, ped-onc and all-kids. About the only thing one can state with certainty is: ask your doctor first before giving your kids any supplement. Also be aware that children should not take vitamins that have folic acid in them when also receiving methotrexate, since folic acid interferes with the action of this chemotherapy drug (see your editor's chemo drug page for details).
- dance therapy
- guided imagery, meditation, yoga
- CB and Olaf: cancer boards to help with guided imagery
- humor therapy
- massage therapy
- music/art therapy
- A good description and references on the Rock Against Cancer site