little guyThe Integrative Medicine Service, at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, in New York City offers their perspective.

“Complementary therapies are pleasant, inexpensive, nonpharmacologic, and effective.”

For patients with leukemia…

  • Mind-body interventions, such as self-hypnosis, meditation, guided imagery and breath awareness are always appropriate.
  • Massage and reflexology (foot massage) decrease symptoms for at least 2 days.
  • Acupuncture is very beneficial for symptom management without adverse consequences.
  • Physical fitness with regular exercise and healthy dietary habits can significantly decrease side effects of cancer treatments and may prolong survival.
  • Botanical extracts and vitamin supplements may interfere with cancer treatments, and should be discussed with the oncologist or pharmacist before use.

The bottom line?
The authors caution, “Complementary therapies are distinct from so-called ‘alternative’ therapies, which are unproven, ineffective and may postpone or interfere with mainstream cancer treatment.”

The Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center was established in 1999 to complement mainstream medical care and address the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of patients and families. More about the Service is here.

11/18/09 19:54 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.