Complementary and Alternative Treatments

Complementary therapies like meditation and acupuncture can work in tandem with conventional cancer treatments to help ease side effects, and provide physical or mental health benefits to patients. 

Studies show more than 65% of patients who have cancer use complementary or alternative treatments for pancreatic cancer.

Some complementary methods that have been shown to be helpful to patients with cancer include:

  • Acupuncture for pain, nausea and vomiting
  • Massage therapy for anxiety or pain
  • Mind-body-spirit therapies such as yoga, hypnosis, relaxation training, imagery and music therapy
  • Medical marijuana. The FDA does not recognize marijuana as medicine, but many states have approved marijuana for medical use. Ask your healthcare team for more information about medical marijuana.

Complementary and alternative therapies are not without risk. Most dietary supplements, vitamins and herbs are not approved by the FDA because they have not been tested. These products may contain contaminants, interact with prescription drugs or even counteract the effects of chemotherapy. Patients should always discuss these methods with their healthcare team and make an informed decision when considering complementary or alternative treatments.

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