Cancer Council Australia

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New position statement on alternative and complementary therapies

Cancer Council Australia has published a new position statement on complementary and alternative therapies. The statement considers the evidence, risks and benefits associated with these therapies, and makes considered recommendations for cancer patients and health practitioners.

Complementary medicines (referring to a range of practices and products used together with conventional medicine) and alternative therapies, (used instead of conventional medicine), have been the subject of debate in the media and among  health professionals.

Some of the key recommendations made in the statement include:

  1. Supporting the right of individuals to seek information about complementary and alternative therapies and respecting their decision to use them, provided they are not at risk of being harmed.
  2. Encouraging people with cancer who are considering using non-conventional therapies to make an informed choice. This includes asking questions about the efficacy, risk, contraindications and the cost of the therapy, as well as the qualifications of the practitioner.
  3. Encouraging people with cancer to discuss with their healthcare provider any complementary or alternative therapies they are using or considering using, in order to minimise risk.
  4. Encouraging healthcare providers to routinely discuss the use of complementary and alternative therapies with all cancer patients and survivors, in an open and non-judgemental manner.

The statement also recommends the Therapeutic Goods Association take a more active role in warning consumers about false claims made in relation to the benefits of complementary and alternative medicine and for more scientific studies to examine the safety and efficiency of promising and commonly used complementary and alternative therapies.

You can read the full statement here.

For more information

This page was last updated on: Wednesday, May 22, 2019

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