Complementary and Alternative Medicine are defined by the National Cancer Institute as follows:
Though grouped together, complementary and alternative medicines are different from each other. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. An example of complementary therapy is the use of aromatherapy to help lessen a patient’s discomfort following surgery. Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of alternative medicine is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a conventional health care practitioner.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has classified CAM therapies into five groups or domains:
- alternative medical systems (for example, homeopathic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine)
- mind-body interventions (for example, visualizations and relaxation)
- manipulative and body-based methods (for example, chiropractic and massage)
- biologically based therapies (for example, vitamins and herbal products); and
- energy therapies (for example, qi gong and therapeutic touch).
Recently, information about interactions with chemotherapy and other anti-myeloma treatments has evolved. Articles detailing these interactions can be found in the Internet and other sources. Examples include the potential hazardous effects of green tea, vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid on the metabolism of bortezomib and other agents.