Breast Cancer Treatment

Non-Medical Treatments

Non-medical Therapies

If you have breast cancer, chances are you've heard about non-medical ways to treat your cancer or symptoms. Well-meaning friends and family may suggest vitamins, herbs, special diets or other treatments.1 While the decision is ultimately yours, it's important to talk with your doctor and thoroughly research any non-standard treatment you are considering. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Complementary or Alternative? Complementary therapies refer to methods used along with your regular medical care.1 Alternative therapies are used instead of medical treatment.1 It can be confusing, as not everyone uses these terms the same way.1 Make sure you know the difference. Most complementary therapies are used to help you feel better.1 Examples include acupuncture to reduce pain or peppermint tea to relieve nausea.1 Alternative therapies, which have not been proven safe or effective in clinical trials, may be offered as cures and are used instead of standard medical treatments.1
  • What's safe? Many complementary methods are helpful, while some are harmless but haven't been proven effective.1 Others may be harmful or interfere with your medical treatment, so be sure to check with your medical team before beginning complementary therapy.1 Alternative treatments, however, are often downright dangerous. Some have life-threatening side effects or delay you from getting crucial medical treatments.1
  • How do I learn more? The best sources of information, along with your doctor, are reputable organizations, such as the American Cancer Society® and the National Cancer Institute. Avoid unproven websites, and use internet groups for support rather than specific medical advice. Beware of anyone who promises to cure your cancer, suggests you forgo regular medical treatment or asks you to travel to another country.1 Don't be afraid to discuss non-medical treatments with your medical team. Your doctors are there to help you and can advise you about safely using some nontraditional methods.1

1Complementary and Alternative Medicine,