Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a term used to describe a diverse group of treatments, techniques, and products that are not considered conventional medicine. A conventional treatment has been scientifically tested, found to be safe and effective, and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Complementary medicine is used in addition to conventional treatments; this approach is often called integrative medicine. Alternative medicine includes unproven therapies and products used instead of conventional treatments.

People with cancer who are considering a complementary or alternative treatment should first discuss it with their doctor, just as they would any other treatment approach, because some CAM therapies may interfere with conventional therapies.

Questions to Ask When Considering CAM

When considering CAM, it is important to first discuss all treatment options with your doctor. This list of questions may help gather the necessary information on the potential benefits and risks of a therapy.

CAM and Clinical Trials

Find out how cancer centers and government organizations are researching the safety and effectiveness of different CAM treatments by conducting clinical trials.