Researchers of Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, & Integrative Medicine and Health

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Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Evidence-Based Use of Integrative Therapies during and After Breast Cancer Treatment

Patients with breast cancer commonly use complementary and integrative therapies as supportive care during cancer treatment and to manage treatment-related side effects. However, evidence supporting the use of such therapies in the oncology setting is limited. This report provides updated clinical practice guidelines from the Society for Integrative Oncology on the use of integrative therapies for specific clinical indications during and after breast cancer treatment, including anxiety/stress, depression/mood disorders, fatigue, quality of life/physical functioning, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, lymphedema, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, pain, and sleep disturbance. Clinical practice guidelines are based on a systematic literature review from 1990 through 2015. Music therapy, meditation, stress management, and yoga are recommended for anxiety/stress reduction. Meditation, relaxation, yoga, massage, and music therapy are recommended for depression/mood disorders. Meditation and yoga are recommended to improve quality of life. Acupressure and acupuncture are recommended for reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Acetyl-L-carnitine is not recommended to prevent chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy due to a possibility of harm. No strong evidence supports the use of ingested dietary supplements to manage breast cancer treatment-related side effects. In summary, there is a growing body of evidence supporting the use of integrative therapies, especially mind-body therapies, as effective supportive care strategies during breast cancer treatment. Many integrative practices, however, remain understudied, with insufficient evidence to be definitively recommended or avoided. Read more here.