ZocdocAnswersCan integrative medicine help cancer victims?

Question

Can integrative medicine help cancer victims?

I am a 40 year old woman with cancer. I have read about integrative medicine. Could it help ease my pain?

Answer

First of all, I am very sorry to hear that you are dealing with a diagnosis of cancer and that you have significant pain. Controlling pain in people with cancer often requires an aggressive, multidisciplinary approach. Therefore, I would start by talking to the cancer doctor who is coordinating your care. One part of pain control is making sure that the dosages of pain medications that you are taking is adequate. Often these medications have to be adjusted from time to time, and so it may be that the fact that your pain is not in control now means it is time for a dose adjustment. On top of this, many patients do find that integrative and alternative medical approaches can be helpful for managing pain. These approaches include aromatherapy, medication, massage, and relaxation techniques among others. All of these approaches work by enhancing a sense of well being, which modifies the body's sensation of pain. It is very likely that the center where your cancer is being treated has some integrative or alternative medicine programs there, and that might be an easy way for you to get in and experiment with these therapies to see if they work for you.

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