Cancer Pain (DA Marcus, Section editor)

Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 325-331

First online:

Integrative Oncology: Managing Cancer Pain with Complementary and Alternative Therapies

  • Alice RunningAffiliated withCollege of Nursing, Montana State University Email author 
  • , Teresa SerightAffiliated withCollege of Nursing, Montana State University

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For the projected 1,638,910 patients with a diagnosis of cancer this year, the great majority of them (75–90 %) will experience cancer-related pain. A growing number of these patients will turn to complementary and alternative therapies to assist with the management of their pain and other cancer-related symptoms. The World Health Organization’s suggested approach to pain management begins with the use of time honored opioids, but recommends the use of adjuvant therapies early in the management process. Complementary and alternative therapies are being used by more patients each year to assist with the management of their pain. Practitioners and researchers must be aware of the evidence that exists to support or refute the use of these therapies. In this manuscript we review evidence from the recent past on complementary and alternative therapies for pain with emphasis on more common modalities including acupuncture, bio-energy, massage, and music.


Complementary therapies Alternative therapies Cancer Pain Acupuncture Bio-Energy Massage Music therapy Evidence