Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 471–481 | Cite as

Guidance for establishing an integrative oncology service in the Australian healthcare setting—a discussion paper

  • Suzanne J. GrantEmail author
  • Jennifer Hunter
  • Alan Bensoussan
  • Geoff P. Delaney
Original Article


There is an obvious mismatch between the high reported rates of use of traditional and complementary medicines (T&CM) by Australian cancer patients and cancer survivors and the low numbers of Australian cancer services integrating T&CM. An estimated 65% of Australian cancer patients use at least one form of T&CM. Over half use T&CM in conjunction with conventional cancer therapy. Yet, less than 20% of Australian hospital cancer care facilities provide access to T&CM. This compares to around 70% of UK cancer care facilities offering at least one T&CM therapy. Barriers to developing integrative oncology services include determining an appropriate service model and revenue structure; concerns with ethical and legal issues such as regulations and credentialing; and inadequate high-quality scientific evidence demonstrating safety and effectiveness, including concerns about the possibility of adversely affecting chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment. This paper aims to provide general guidance and practical strategies for those seeking to develop integrative oncology services in Australian cancer care facilities.


Integrative oncology Cancer care facilities Australian hospitals Complementary medicine Integrative medicine 



The authors would like to thank the assistance provided by the centres mentioned in this paper.

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors have full control over the data used in preparing this manuscript and agree to the journal reviewing the data if required.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne J. Grant
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jennifer Hunter
    • 2
  • Alan Bensoussan
    • 2
  • Geoff P. Delaney
    • 3
  1. 1.Chris O’Brien LifehouseCamperdownAustralia
  2. 2.National Institute of Complementary MedicineWestern Sydney UniversityPenrithAustralia
  3. 3.Cancer Services, South Western Sydney Local Health District, Cancer Therapy CentreLiverpool HospitalLiverpoolAustralia

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