Complementary therapies safe and effective for cancer patients

Dr Carlo Pirri (PhD), research psychologist at Murdoch University in WA, presented a review of the safety and efficacy of 50 complementary and alternative therapies based on 400 studies at the Clinical Oncological Society of Australia’s (COSA) 39th Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane today.

He found that some complementary therapies can help reduce symptoms, provide pain relief or alleviate the effects of treatment.

His top 10 therapies are relaxation, support groups led by health professionals, physical activity, music therapy, meditation, acupuncture, massage, omega-3 fatty acids, yoga and ginger with commercial antiemetics.

“Acupuncture, for example, can help not only with pain relief, it can reduce nausea and, in head and neck cancer patients, stimulate saliva production. Physical activity programs can be particularly beneficial, even in advanced cancer patients,” Dr Pirri said.

He said failure to integrate