Complementary therapies - safety issues

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Many people with cancer use one or more kinds of alternative or complementary therapies. Often they are reluctant to tell their doctors about their decision. The best approach is to look carefully at your choices. Talk to your doctor about any method you are considering. 


There are many complementary methods you can safely use along with standard mainstream treatment to help relieve symptoms or side effects, to ease pain, and to help you enjoy life more. Here is a partial list of some complementary methods that some people have found helpful when used along with medical treatment:


But if you are thinking about using any other method instead of evidence-based medical treatment, look first at the questions below.

Questions to Ask About Alternative and Complementary Therapies

Signs of Treatments to Avoid

Use the checklist below to spot those approaches that might be open to question. If you are not sure, talk to your doctor or nurse before moving ahead.

Further general information Your doctors and specialist nurses are in an ideal position to give you relevant information on your disease and treatment as they know your individual circumstances. Cancerbackup has a help line (0808 800 1234) and a prize winning video available in English, Italian, Urdu, Bengali, Gujarati & Hindi explaining Radiotherapy & Chemotherapy. has over 500 pages describing cancer, its management, practical tips and tool which patients, their carers and their doctors have found helpful during the cancer journey.

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