CAM stands for
Complementary and Alternative medicine. It's an umbrella term for
interventions and practices that are not generally in the mainstream of medicine
as practiced today in the United States and many countries. Here we
describe the different types of medicine that are practiced today.
Practices that are sometimes
a part of mainstream medical care,
such as to help improve general health, or to relieve symptoms.
Doing Yoga for pain or
stress relief is an example. Such activities are sometimes called integrativemedicine.
Alternative cancer practices
theory-based practices that
are sometimes used to replace mainstream medical care.
We do not endorse
alternative medicine because theories are very easy to make up and even
scientifically valid theories will fail to provide benefit when tested.
These are medical practices
that are based on scientific discovery or knowledge that have been proven
by clinical testing to provide clinical benefit - defined as
living a longer life or by improving quality of life.
These pre-defined (prospective) tests of the treatments are carried out
in patients who have the disease. The results are reviewed by
peers and regulatory agencies.
The prospective design of
clinical trials helps to measure the rate of outcomes, such as
response rate, and also the expected duration of response, side effects,
and survival - for others. Such as 30/100 responses.
A key principles of
evidence-based medicine is to evaluate a treatment in ways that
predict the results for others. Such as:
Study design to
minimize bias (controlled studies) of sufficient size
Pre-specifying the intervention, patient population, how the
outcomes will be measured, and the result that warrants approval
Reproducibility of the outcomes by other groups (verification)
These are changes to life style that can reduce the risk of developing some
kinds of disease.
Most everyone agrees that preventive practices (adopting a healthful diet,
increasing our exercise, cessation of smoking) are keys to better
decreasing the incidence of many diseases, and lowering medical costs.
Some obvious targets of such efforts would be the tobacco and food
industries, but also public education.
Anonymous & Confidential
4-question CAM SURVEY
for lymphoma survivors or caregivers
To can better meet needs when we understand the community we serve - details
After you complete the survey you
will see a list of what you selected.
When you return to this
form, you are done.
a) You are
survivor, OR caregiver (providing
input for another)
b) Gender of person diagnosed:
c) Age at diagnosis:
d) Approximate time since diagnosis:
e) Grade of lymphoma (choose one):
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM):
medicine - non-mainstream substitutes for treatment
complementary medicine - practices used to improve quality of life,
such as yoga
believe that herbs, supplements, and other life style practices
CAN directly change
the course of the disease
(Yes, Likely, Don't know, Unlikely, No)
You consider testimonials
(experiences related by individuals) to be reliable
evidence of the merits of CAM practices.
(Yes, Not sure, No)
You feel that there could be a conspiracy in the medical establishment to undermine
the credibility of CAM practices for cancers.
(Yes, Not sure, No)
Click Submit to complete the
survey. Thank you for participating!
Medical experts speaking out against Unproven Therapies for
Spontaneous Remission and the Placebo Effect,
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Recovery from illness, whether it follows self-medication,
treatment by a scientific practitioner, or treatment by an
unscientific practitioner, may lead individuals to conclude that
the treatment received was the cause of the return to good health.
Respectful Insolence by Surgeon/ Scientist Orac
"A statement of fact cannot be insolent." The
miscellaneous ramblings of a surgeon/scientist on medicine, quackery,
science, pseudoscience, history, and pseudohistory (and anything else that
"Patients who don’t understand the difference
between informationbased on theory, anecdote, historical
analysis, or double-blindplacebo controlled studies are making
ill-informed decisions,believing alternative therapies are safer
or more effectivewhen they are not. Even patients who presume
that alternativetherapies are ineffective may use them. Why?
When faced witha life-threatening disease requiring highly toxic
treatmentswith no guarantees, or when dying because there are no
effectiveconventional treatments, it takes guts to reject
something orsomeone claiming to be able to save you, just in
case you mightbe wrong."
... "modern medicine's integrity is being eroded by New
Age mysticism, cult-like schemes, ideologies, and classical quackery, all
known as "alternative medicine." Using obscure language and
misleading claims, they promote changes that would propel medicine back five
centuries or more. They would supplant objectivity and reason with myths,
feelings, hunches and sophistry.
NCCAM is being presented as a scientific
vehicle to study alternative medicine's anomalous methods. But NCCAM
actually promotes the movement by assuming that false and implausible claims
are legitimate things to study."
Debunking cancer myths: An interview with a Mayo Clinic specialist mayoclinic.com/
Medical myths not only mislead but also may hamper proper treatment.
Find out why these common cancer myths are wrong. Highly recommended
"NCAHF is a private nonprofit, voluntary
health agency that focuses upon health misinformation, fraud, and quackery
as public health problems. Our positions are based upon the principles of
science that underlie consumer protection law. We advocate: (a) adequate
disclosure in labeling and other warranties to enable consumers to make
truly informed choices; (b) premarketing proof of safety and effectiveness
for products and services claimed to prevent, alleviate, or cure any health
problem; and, (c) accountability for those who violate the law."
Caring (Really) for Patients Who Use Alternative Therapies
for Cancer jco.org
"The reasons why people seek alternative therapies
for cancerare broad. Many seek out alternative therapy when
options forconventional therapy have been exhausted. There is
also therecognition that, for some tumor systems, conventional
therapyis of limited effectiveness and that the side effects of
chemotherapy,surgery, and radiation are feared. For some tumor
systems, noconventional therapy exists and the standard therapy
is participationin phase I or phase II trials. Many patients
perceive that theconventional approach is emotionally or
spiritually empty andprovides neither comfort nor solace."
Medlexicon: Fasting May Boost Chemo By Weakening Cancer
“The study shows that five out of eight cancer types in mice
[also\ responded to fasting alone: it slowed the growth and spread
and of tumors.” (showing the limitation of animal
COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE
THERAPIES FOR CANCER PATIENTS
A Cancer Patient’s Guide to Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Heather L. Morein University of California San Diego School of
Independent Study Project, April 2002 (Large 168 pg document)
Use of Complementary/Integrative Nutritional Therapies During
Cancer Treatment: Implications in Clinical Practice -
2002 H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, Inc.