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Complementary and Alternative Cancer Therapies

Revised September 2014

Complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) may be used as part of an individual's choice within the process of cancer treatment, to seek to promote health, improve quality of life or encourage healing. Because some CAM therapies can affect reactions to chemotherapy or radiation therapy, patients are encouraged to share their questions and decisions about CAM use with their health care providers.

To help the people of BC and the Yukon find unbiased, factual information about CAM therapies, we are pleased to provide content from the Natural Standard Database.  The Natural Standard is an impartial international research collaboration that systematically gathers evidence about complementary and alternative medicine therapies using scientific data and expert opinion.     

Our Recommended Websites suggest numerous other excellent web resources on CAM.  There is also an excellent resource for Herbs and Supplements on MedlinePlus.

The BC Cancer Agency has provided patients with evidence-based information on CAM since first publishing "Unproven Methods of Cancer Treatment: a Manual for Patients" in 1987. This book was released in two further editions as the Unconventional Cancer Therapies Manual. The 3rd and last edition of the UCT Manual was published in 2000, and was previously available on our website. Many other evidence-based websites on CAM therapies have become available since that time. The BCCA does not plan to update the UCT Manual further, and all UCT pages have been removed from the website. Copies are available to borrow from our Library.  

The Complementary and Alternative Medicine Education and Outcomes (CAMEO) Research Program was developed as a joint UBC School of Nursing and BC Cancer Agency research program. Its on-going work is to transform complementary medicine (CAM) research into user-friendly information that can be shared with patients and health care professionals. While it is not providing individual consultations, many of its complementary medicine and cancer resources continue to be available on the CAMEO site. The CAMEO program will be launching a new website with updated resources shortly.