The most recent issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs features a series of articles on the role of integrative oncology in cancer survivorship. I was pleased to have been invited to write a perspectives piece for this issue on building the evidence base for integrative approaches to the care of cancer survivors.
Integrative oncology is a relatively new movement, and the research is in early stages. But due in part to patient demand for a more “holistic” approach to care as well as the desire of physicians to develop a style of practice that will facilitate changed relationships with patients, with more emphasis on healing and less on technical advice, the movement, along with the evidence base, is growing.
We at NCCAM continue to focus resources on building a rigorous evidence base, conducting research on complementary and integrative health approaches for symptom management, particularly pain management, but also fatigue, loss of sleep, and loss of appetite. These approaches should continue to be tested for potential benefits, risks, and continued improvement, to provide a solid scientific basis for guiding patient decisions and provider recommendations.