Jun J. Mao, MD of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center discusses how integrative medicine can improve health, quality of life, and clinical outcomes, especially for cancer patients. In 2017, the integrative oncology came up with mixed research methodology, which is patient-centered and more evidence informed cancer care that brings together mind-body therapy, lifestyle modifications and natural products along with conventional cancer treatment. This helps practitioners find clarity on useful alternatives, since there are alternative cancer treatments that actually maybe be harmful to patients. Theres a recent paper showing that for treatable cancer like breast, colorectal and lung, using alternative treatment is actually associated with increased mortality compared with people pursuing conventional treatment.
With this, oncologists need to have an open dialogue to engage patients whether they will seek natural therapies or they will continue to pursue conventional treatment. For those who will pursue conventional treatment, doctors should carefully find alternatives and complimentary therapies for symptom management and other ways of helping the patients in the process of cancer treatment.