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Discussing unproven therapies 

Discussing unproven therapies
Discussing unproven therapies

Penelope Schofield

and Michael Jefford

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date: 19 November 2018

The use of unproven therapies, or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) continues to evoke strong debate and diverse views within the medical community. Many doctors are concerned about the lack of scientifically credible research to support the claims of CAM proponents. However, a large and growing number of cancer patients use CAM. Evidence indicates that clinicians neglect to appropriately discuss issues surrounding CAM use with their patients. Improving CAM-related communication between clinicians and cancer patients has been widely advocated by researchers, medical practitioners, CAM practitioners, and patients. Assisting clinicians to initiate and engage patients in discussions about CAM is an essential contribution to improving health-related communication. This chapter presents a definition of CAM, explores the rationale supporting the need to improve communication about CAM, and considers evidence-based guidelines about how to discuss CAM in a conventional oncology setting.

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