Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City has an active integrative medicine department. Entries on this blog related to studies and perspective by its faculty can be found here.

Now, researchers from Sloan-Kettering have categorized the beneficial and the potentially hazardous CAM options used by patients with cancer.

What is their role?

  • Adjuncts to mainstream treatment
  • Reduce symptoms associated with treatment of urologic cancers and other illnesses

CAM likely to be beneficial

  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Physical activity
    • Physical and emotional symptoms associated with cancer treatment, for which there are few effective standard interventions

Problematic CAM

  • Herbs
  • Dietary supplements
    • Potentially dangerous when taken during cancer treatment

The bottom line?
It’s important to distinguish complementary treatments from “alternative therapies, which are unproven, potentially harmful, and often promoted as substitutes for mainstream medical care,” say the authors.

4/9/09 19:50 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.