Curr Opin Oncol. 1997 Jul; 9(4): 327-31.
University of Maryland Medical System, Baltimore 21201, USA.
Complementary medicine can be described as additional approaches to care outside of mainstream medical practice but frequently based on traditional practices of nonwestern cultures. These include acupuncture, meditation, massage, diet manipulation, and many others. Recent reviews demonstrate wide and frequent use of these measures, often without concurrent discussion with the patient's physician. One estimate is that more than $13 billion is spent annually on complementary techniques in the United States alone. Many patients with cancer turn to these techniques. Care givers need to recognize this trend, learn about complementary medicine, and guide patients in their proper application when appropriate.