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Asia Pac J Clin Oncol. 2014 Dec;10(4):289-96. doi: 10.1111/ajco.12227. Epub 2014 Sep 22.

Clinical Oncology Society of Australia position statement on the use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients.

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National Institute of Complementary Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


Health professionals involved in the clinical management of cancer are becoming increasingly aware that their patients use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). As cancer incidence and survival rates increase, use of CAM is also likely to increase. This paper outlines the position of the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) on the use of CAM by cancer patients and provides guidance for health professionals involved with the treatment of cancer patients who are using or wish to use CAM. Key definitions and common communication scenarios are presented along with evidence-based recommended steps for health professionals when discussing CAM use. COSA encourages health professionals to focus on open discussion with their patients regarding CAM, to become familiar with reputable resources for CAM information, to discuss with patients the concept of evidence-based medicine, to recognize limitations to their knowledge of CAM and seek further advice when necessary, and to be respectful of the patients' right to autonomy.


complementary therapy; informed consent; integrative medicine; neoplasm; physician-patient relation

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