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Eur J Cancer. 2004 Sep;40(14):2041-6.

Complementary and alternative medical therapies for children with cancer.

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Division of Pediatric Oncology, Department of Pediatrics, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, 161 Fort Washington Avenue, IP-7, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Complementary and alternative medical therapies (CAM) are treatments that generally fall outside of the mainstream of conventional medicine. CAM therapies are used by 31-84% of children with cancer, including many children enrolled on clinical trials. CAM therapies are often used for the treatment of side-effects of cancer or cancer therapy, and only rarely as an alternative to conventional therapy. Regulation of CAM therapies varies worldwide, and many therapies have not been subject to scientifically conducted analyses. Adverse events have been described, especially from the contamination of herbs. Only rare reports of interactions of CAM therapies with conventional anticancer treatments have been reported. Several research studies of CAM in children with cancer are underway. In the interim, non-pharmacological therapies such as mind-body medicine, manipulative and body-based therapies and energy therapies may be used for supportive therapy. Research is needed before biologically based CAM therapies may be recommended in conjunction with conventional therapy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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