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Effects of Complementary and Integrative Medicine on Cancer Survivorship

Abstract

Cancer survivorship has become a topic of great interest in the past few years. Unfortunately, even with successful treatment as well as good follow-up care, many patients continue to experience unmet physical, emotional, and spiritual needs as well as having an unsettling fear, fear of recurrence, a fear which most survivors share, even many years after their treatment ended. As a result, patients are continually looking for additional ways to address these needs and fears. Among the most popular approach is the use of complementary and integrative medicine (CIM). Most studies on CIM use among cancer patients and survivors concentrate on symptom improvement and improvement of quality of life and do not touch a crucial question if these therapies can affect patients’ survival in terms of prolongation of life. Interestingly, in recent years, there are a growing number of studies that suggest that approaches such as mind-body interventions, enhanced general nutrition, nutritional supplements, physical activity, and other CIM approaches may have a positive effect on survival of cancer patients. Although additional studies are needed to confirm these findings, given the low cost of these CIM interventions, their minimal risk, and the potential magnitude of their effects, these approaches might be considered as additional important tools to integrate into cancer survivorship care plans.

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Moshe Frenkel, Victor Sierpina, and Kenneth Sapire declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Moshe Frenkel.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Integrative Care

Moshe Frenkel is a founder of the Integrative Oncology Clinic in The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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Frenkel, M., Sierpina, V. & Sapire, K. Effects of Complementary and Integrative Medicine on Cancer Survivorship. Curr Oncol Rep 17, 21 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11912-015-0445-1

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Keywords

  • Cancer survivorship
  • Unmet needs
  • Cancer care
  • Complementary medicine
  • Integrative medicine
  • Cancer prognosis
  • Nutrition
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Exercise
  • Mind body medicine