Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the term for medical products and practices that are not thought of as standard medical care. CAM care involves the patient's mind, body, and spirit, and includes multidisciplinary approaches.
Complementary medicine is used along with standard medical treatment but is not considered by itself to be standard treatment. One example is using acupuncture to help lessen some side effects of cancer treatment.
Alternative medicine is used instead of standard medical treatment. One example is using a special diet instead of prescription drugs to treat a condition.
Integrative medicine is a total approach to care that combines standard medical treatment with the CAM practices that have been shown to be safe and effective.
Below are evidence-based information summaries for some specific integrative, alternative, and complementary therapies for cancer patients provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).