Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)
Frequently Asked Questions
16. What are some examples of NIH-sponsored studies of CAM therapies for cancer?
Acupuncture is one of many CAM therapies that people with cancer seek out -- not as cures, but as complementary therapies that may help them feel better and recover faster. Researchers have found evidence that acupuncture can reduce nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. Other researchers are currently studying whether acupuncture can relieve shortness of breath among breast cancer and lung cancer patients, help with difficulty swallowing in patients with head and neck cancer after chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and improve quality of life in patients with advanced ovarian and colorectal cancers.
Studies are evaluating whether massage can help people who have cancer cope with various physical and emotional challenges. Researchers are looking at whether massage can reduce fatigue, pain, and swelling related to cancer.
Vitamin E and selenium are dietary supplements that were tested in a large study for prostate cancer prevention. The study, known as SELECT (the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial) found that the supplements, taken either alone or together, did not prevent prostate cancer. More than 35,000 men age 50 and over participated in this study. The researchers will continue to monitor the volunteers' health for another 3 years to learn more about prostate cancer and other diseases faced by older men.