Have you considered using a complementary therapy to support your breast cancer treatment?
Complementary therapies are often used in addition to conventional medical treatments such as chemotherapy and hormone therapies. The following complementary therapies are often used by women with breast cancer:
- Art therapy
- Bowen Therapy
- Music therapy
- Relaxation therapy
- Tai chi
Complementary therapies are different from complementary medicines, which are products that are taken, e.g. vitamin supplements.
Should I use a complementary therapy?
Complementary therapies can improve your physical and emotional wellbeing. They can also help you to manage some of the side effects of breast cancer treatments, such as anxiety, pain and fatigue.
While many complementary therapies can be very helpful, it is a good idea to talk to a member of your medical team before starting anything new. This will help you to prevent any possible effects that the therapy may have on your breast cancer treatments or health.
Questions to ask about complementary therapies
If you want to begin a complementary therapy, you may like to ask your doctor and/or complementary therapist the following questions:
- How will this therapy will help me?
- Will I have any unwanted side effects ?
- What should I do if I experience any side effects?
- How long should I use this therapy and how will I know if it is working?
- Who will deliver the complementary therapy?
- What qualification, training and experience does the complementary therapist have?
- What is the cost of the complementary therapy?
- Is the therapy covered by private health insurance?
What should I do if I experience any side effects?
If you experience any negative side effects, it is a good idea to stop the complementary therapy and talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
For more information on complementary therapies, you might like to look at:
- The My Journey online tool, which has a section on complementary and alternative therapies.
- BCNA’s Position statement on complementary and alternative therapies.
- The Cancer Council Australia’s website section on Complementary and alternative therapies.
- The Victorian Government's Better Health Channel webpage on Complementary therapies.