Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Integrative medicine

Integrative medicine, also called complementary medicine, is any form of therapy used in combination with other alternative treatments or standard/conventional medicine. Complementary therapies usually serve to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.

The following are some complementary forms of therapy that may be included in a patient’s treatment plan:

You should consult your physician before beginning any complementary or alternative therapy, as some therapies may interfere with standard treatment.

Before starting therapy, you should:

  • Consult with your physician.
  • Use your library to research books, articles and scientific journals.
  • Use the Internet to do research.
  • Look for information on controlled, scientific studies on the therapy you are considering.
  • Talk to others who have actually tried the therapy.

What warning signs may indicate a fraudulent therapy?

According to the American Cancer Society, it is better to avoid treatment with the following warning signs:

  • The treatment is based on unproven theories.
  • The treatment promises a cure.
  • The treatment is a secret and can only be given by certain providers.
  • The treatment requires travel to another country.
  • Those who provide the treatment discount standard or conventional medicine and/or tell the patient not to use standard or conventional medicine.