Points to Consider If You Want to Add Complementary Medicine to Your Treatment Plan

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  • Because research on complementary medicine is so new, you have to be an informed consumer. Find out if any studies have been done on the safety and effectiveness of the technique in which you are interested. For each of the Types of Complementary Techniques in this section, Breastcancer.org reports on relevant studies. 
  • Review the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) guidelines on complementary therapies . Released in November 2014, the SIO guidelines were created by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center with colleagues at MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Michigan, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and other institutions in the United States and Canada. The researchers analyzed more than 200 studies done between 1990 and 2013 on more than 80 complementary therapies and made recommendations on therapies that are effective and safe for people diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Talk to your doctor before you make any decisions about adding complementary therapies to your treatment plan. If you're already using complementary therapies, tell your doctor so they can be noted in your treatment plan. Learn more about talking to your doctor.
  • If you use a complementary technique provided by a practitioner, such as massage, choose the practitioner with care. Visit our Finding a Complementary Medicine Practitioner pages for more information. Check with your insurance company to see if the services are covered.

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