I’m not a big acronym fan.  At the very least I try and spell-out the phrase at hand before I start using one.  So needless to say I didn’t realize the complimentary medicine had one!

Complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM).  Who knew?

Here’s an excellent, long overdue article about CAM and oncology; a rare combination!

Patients and Survivors Harness the Healing Potential of Diets, Herbs, and Supplements

OncLive – By Barbara Jones

July 18, 2013

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been in the mainstream of healthcare for thousands of years in China, and in India where Ayurveda has long been practiced as a holistic approach to health, based on maintaining balance in body, mind, and consciousness through proper diet and lifestyle, as well as herbal remedies.

Now, in the United States, a growing proportion of cancer patients and cancer survivors are adopting CAM diets and taking herbs, vitamins, and supplements for their healing properties—not in place of standard cancer therapy, but along with it and beyond treatment.

In this setting, research shows, the hope and promise of CAM nutrition comes with varying degrees of supportive evidence. But CAM and the concept of integrative care has joined the elite among medical research areas with a special unit within the National Institutes of Health: the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM [http://nccam.nih.gov/]).

As much as 44% of all cancer survivors use CAM therapies, according to findings from a study by Judith Fouladbakhsh, PhD, APRN, and colleagues. Fouladbakhsh, associate professor at Wayne State University College of Nursing, and Liana Wheatley, BA, RN, OCN, a medical oncology nurse from Texas Oncology, reviewed the potential benefits and risks of CAM diets and nutritional supplements for cancer and other wellness goals at ONS 2013.

Anticancer diets, although they differ in guiding philosophies, use of specific supplements, food preparation (if any), and other particulars, typically share certain features. Most recommend high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are biologically active compounds found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains. Thousands of phytochemicals have been identified, but only a small fraction has received close scientific examination and verification of health benefits. Better known among the scientifically validated compounds are beta carotene and other carotenoids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), folic acid, and vitamin E.

Also common among anticancer and other CAM diets is a recommendation for plant-based (vs animal-sourced) protein as well as fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and oils, minerals, and polyphenols, which are found in green tea, and curcumin (the major component of turmeric). Among a number of CAM diets discussed by Fouladbakhsh and Wheatley in their ONS overview, certain ones are labeled as “anticancer” diets, including the Dr. Oz Anti-Cancer Diet, Dr. Moerman’s Anti-Cancer Diet, The Maker’s Diet, and the Paleo Diet…

But what about the herbs?  Click-on the link below to read how herbs fit-in with CAM:

http://www.onclive.com/publications/oncology-nurse/2013/June-2013/Patients-and-Survivors-Harness-the-Healing-Potential-of-Diets-Herbs-and-Supplements

This may be as much as some middle aged oncologists have ever read about alternative medicine.  Not a big winner in medical school.  After all, CAM isn’t a big money maker when compared to chemotherapy agents and the like.

And remember to call it complimentary medicine whenever you are with a physician.  It’s a softer, more palatable way of saying “alternative,” which implies they may not be doing or offering something they should.  Or better yet, use the term, “integrated medicine.”

By any name, it seems clear that a number of non-pharma based anticancer therapies are worth a second look.  Too bad there aren’t more crossed-trained medical professionals here in the United States.  Whatever works, right?

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

 

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been in the mainstream of healthcare for thousands of years in China, and in India where Ayurveda has long been practiced as a holistic approach to health, based on maintaining balance in body, mind, and consciousness through proper diet and lifestyle, as well as herbal remedies.

Now, in the United States, a growing proportion of cancer patients and cancer survivors are adopting CAM diets and taking herbs, vitamins, and supplements for their healing properties—not in place of standard cancer therapy, but along with it and beyond treatment.

In this setting, research shows, the hope and promise of CAM nutrition comes with varying degrees of supportive evidence. But CAM and the concept of integrative care has joined the elite among medical research areas with a special unit within the National Institutes of Health: the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM [http://nccam.nih.gov/]).

As much as 44% of all cancer survivors use CAM therapies, according to findings from a study by Judith Fouladbakhsh, PhD, APRN, and colleagues. Fouladbakhsh, associate professor at Wayne State University College of Nursing, and Liana Wheatley, BA, RN, OCN, a medical oncology nurse from Texas Oncology, reviewed the potential benefits and risks of CAM diets and nutritional supplements for cancer and other wellness goals at ONS 2013.

Anticancer diets, although they differ in guiding philosophies, use of specific supplements, food preparation (if any), and other particulars, typically share certain features. Most recommend high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are biologically active compounds found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains. Thousands of phytochemicals have been identified, but only a small fraction has received close scientific examination and verification of health benefits. Better known among the scientifically validated compounds are beta carotene and other carotenoids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), folic acid, and vitamin E.

Also common among anticancer and other CAM diets is a recommendation for plant-based (vs animal-sourced) protein as well as fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and oils, minerals, and polyphenols, which are found in green tea, and curcumin (the major component of turmeric). Among a number of CAM diets discussed by Fouladbakhsh and Wheatley in their ONS overview, certain ones are labeled as “anticancer” diets, including the Dr. Oz Anti-Cancer Diet, Dr. Moerman’s Anti-Cancer Diet, The Maker’s Diet, and the Paleo Diet. – See more at: http://www.onclive.com/publications/oncology-nurse/2013/June-2013/Patients-and-Survivors-Harness-the-Healing-Potential-of-Diets-Herbs-and-Supplements#sthash.SkBO0Gwx.dpuf

Patients and Survivors Harness the Healing Potential of Diets, Herbs, and Supplements – See more at: http://www.onclive.com/publications/oncology-nurse/2013/June-2013/Patients-and-Survivors-Harness-the-Healing-Potential-of-Diets-Herbs-and-Supplements#sthash.SkBO0Gwx.dpuf
Patients and Survivors Harness the Healing Potential of Diets, Herbs, and Supplements – See more at: http://www.onclive.com/publications/oncology-nurse/2013/June-2013/Patients-and-Survivors-Harness-the-Healing-Potential-of-Diets-Herbs-and-Supplements#sthash.SkBO0Gwx.dpuf

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