Complementary and Alternative Medicine
CAM - for a healthier Europe


CAM in cancer care - a European report
Posted: 4th January 2016

The use of CAM in cancer patients in association with mainstream treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation and surgery is steadily increasing over the past 20 years. A recent meta-analysis (2012) has suggested an increase in CAM use in cancer care from an estimated 25% in the 1970s and1980s to more than 32% in the1990s and to 49% after 2000. A survey on the use of CAM in cancer patients (2005) showed that in Europe, more than one third (35.9 %) of cancer patients reported using some form of complementary and alternative medicine, with little variation across countries. Patients use CAM to counteract the adverse effects of cancer or medical treatments, to increase body’s ability to fight the disease and to improve physical or emotional well-being.

“Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cancer care” is one of the deliverables of EPAAC, the European Partnership for Action Against Cancer (EPAAC). EPAAC is an initiative started by the European Commission in 2009 with the support of many partners and co-funded by the European Union.
This action – which collected the efforts of the European Commission, member States and corresponding Health Ministries, associations of patients, clinicians and researchers, industry and civil society – intended to face the cancer issue in an effective and harmonised way within the European Union.

The aim of of this deliverable was to collect and review the evidence on the use of Complementary Medicine in oncology and propose criteria for a correct dissemination of the information for clinicians, patients and decision-makers; to map the European structures/centers which provide services of integrative oncology and put them in network activating synergies and a permanent co-ordination among the centers of integrative oncology.

It can be downloaded from the EPAAC website here

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Dr Ton Nicolai
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