How Complementary Medicine Could Benefit Your Cancer Care Plan

Many cancer patients experience side effects related to their cancer treatment. Nausea, vomiting and fatigue are just a few of the additional challenges they may face. If you’re currently undergoing cancer care and experiencing unpleasant side effects, complementary medicine may be a great addition to your cancer care plan.

What are the benefits of complementary medicine?

Complementary medicine uses products, practices and therapies in tandem with standard medical care, but not in place of standard medicine. An example is using relaxation and imagery along with prescribed medications to reduce nausea and vomiting.

Cancer patients and survivors may utilize complementary medicine to:

  • Cope with side effects of cancer treatments, such as nausea, pain and tiredness.
  • Manage stress from cancer and cancer treatments.
  • Take an active role in their cancer care.
  • Improve their overall health.

Deb Reis, RN, MSN, coordinator of the ProMedica Cancer Institute Healing Care Program, speaks to the benefits of complementary medicine practices. “Complementary therapies go beyond cancer treatment and help us treat the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of a patient,” Reis shares. “Oftentimes, when a patient receives a cancer diagnosis, they feel out of control. Complementary therapies are a tool they can use to regain some sense of balance and take control of an aspect of their care plan.”

Using Complementary Medicine

Complementary medicine should always be used under the guidance of a medical professional. It’s important to remember that while some complementary therapies such as acupuncture, yoga, meditation, relaxation and imagery have been researched and have been found to be safe and helpful, other therapies may not work, may be harmful, or could interact negatively with your other treatments or medicines. Always talk to your doctor, nurse and/or pharmacist before taking any herbs, supplements or vitamins to make sure there are no foreseen adverse reactions with your other treatments.

The ProMedica Cancer Institute Healing Care Program is designed to help cancer patients on their journey to health during and after cancer treatment. Classes and one-on-one sessions are free to individuals who are receiving cancer care at ProMedica. Cancer patients, survivors and their family members may take advantage of the program during their treatment and for two years after their last treatment date. The program includes therapies such as relaxation and meditation, guided imagery, aromatherapy, healing touch, relaxing music and sleep tips. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 419-824-5538.

The ProMedica Natural Wellness Shop carries a wide selection of complementary medicine products such as vitamins, holistic items, and supplements. The shop also offers complementary medicine services provided by a licensed acupuncturist and natural wellness practitioner, including

  • Auricular therapy, which stimulates pressure points in the ear to help with problems such as nausea and pain.
  • Cupping, where glass cups are applied to the skin to help energy flow.

Talk with your cancer care team to learn more about complementary therapies and medicines that could be helpful for you.