Our member organization, Breast Cancer Options contributed the following article:

The terms “complementary medicine” and “alternative medicine” often are used interchangeably. However, though they sometimes refer to the same modalities, the two are very different.


Complementary medicine is used together with traditional Western medicine. Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. Many patients use both conventional treatments and complementary therapies. There is no scientific evidence that any complementary therapy can cure cancer but they can help with side effects and optimize immune function. Complementary therapies work best as part of your total treatment plan, combined with conventional medical treatments. They focus on areas often neglected by conventional medicine that may improve overall health and survival.



  • Help you feel better and improve your quality of life
  • Improve your general health and immunity
  • Give you a sense of control over what is happening
  • Reduce stress, tension, sleeplessness, anxiety and depression and make you feel more relaxed
  • Help reduce the symptoms of cancer, such as pain, feeling sick, breathlessness, constipation, diarrhea, tiredness and poor appetite
  • Help reduce the side effects of cancer treatment such as nausea, joint pain, fatigue, ‘chemo brain’, sexual side effects
  • Improve conventional treatment efficacy

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