ASH Practice Partnership Session - To CAM or Not To, That is the Question; Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Hematology
According to the National Cancer Institute, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is defined as medical products and practices that are not part of standard medical care. Alternative medicine, such as a specialized diet or other naturopathy, is used in lieu of standard medicine while complementary medicine, such as using acupuncture to help lessen some side effects of cancer treatment, is used along with standard medical treatments. While some CAM therapies, after careful evaluation, have been found to be safe and effective, research on others has been slow due to issues such as time, funding, and the ability to identify willing institutions and researchers. Additionally, some CAM therapies, such as medical marijuana, have run into regulatory hurdles, and there is little communication about CAM use among patients, CAM providers, and hematologists. Nevertheless, CAM is common among hematology patients, who, for example, use the analgesic properties of medical marijuana for cancer and sickle cell disease, but also for many who use these unconventional therapies to gain hope and improve quality of life. This session will provide information about CAM therapies that may be discussed by patients with their hematologist. Additionally, the session will address the most common questions physicians hear from their patients about CAM therapies and how to conduct a constructive conversation between the physician and patient.
Moderator: Chancellor E Donald, MD, Chair, ASH Committee on Practice, Tulane University School of Medicine