A recent article published in Cancer Therapy Advisor describes what is meant by ‘integrative oncology’ and how evidence based medicine can be used to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.
Cancer is among the leading causes of death worldwide, and new cases of cancer may rise to 23.6 million per year by 2030. However, around half of all cancer cases in the US could be prevented by lifestyle changes (American Institute for Cancer Research).
According to the results of a survey that was published in JNCI Monographs, integrative oncology can be defined as a “patient-centred, evidence-informed field of cancer care that utilises mind and body practices, natural products, and/or lifestyle modifications from different traditions alongside conventional cancer treatments,” including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and immunotherapy. However, this definition raises problems since the term ‘integrative’ is often confused with ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’. Alternative practices not derived from Western medicine are used instead of conventional treatments, while complementary medicine is used to support or in addition to conventional treatments. Integrative care, however, is a whole-systems approach that merges mainstream and complementary interventions.