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    Walk into any major cancer center and you're likely to see not only regular exam rooms, equipment, and chemotherapy suites, but also massage rooms, yoga mats, and maybe even a choir practice room.

    This is the world of complementary and alternative medicine. Today, more research supports treatments such as acupuncture, yoga, and some diet supplements as good ways to relieve some of the side effects of chemotherapy.

    The number of treatment centers that offer these options and the number of people who take advantage of them have both jumped in recent years. One study found that as many as half of all people getting cancer treatment in the U.S. used some type of complementary option.

    And perhaps with good reason.

    Most of the complementary treatments doctors recommend have few or no side effects, says Ted Gansler, MD. He's the director of medical content at the American Cancer Society.

    It's fine to try music therapy or meditation, for example, while you follow your standard treatment plan, he says.

    Here's a rundown of complementary treatments that might help relieve some of the side effects you can have during chemo.


    This technique probably has more research backing it up than any other complementary treatment for cancer, says Jeffrey D. White, MD. He's the director of the National Cancer Institute's Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

    Acupuncture involves getting tiny, thin needles placed into specific parts of the body. Scientists think it releases "feel-good" brain chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin.

    When people get acupuncture along with their medical treatments, it seems to do a good job of easing nausea and vomiting, two of the most common side effects of chemo, Gansler says.

    Diet Supplements

    There's not a lot of evidence to show that supplements work for chemo side effects, with one possible exception: ginger. One large study found that people with cancer who took 0.5-1 gram of ginger in capsules for 6 days had less nausea and vomiting than people who took a sugar pill.


    This can help relieve the fatigue that chemo causes. It might also improve nausea, anxiety, and pain.

    Concerned About Infections During Strong Chemotherapy?


    Neulasta® is a prescription medicine used to help reduce the chance of infection due to a low white blood cell count, in people with certain types of cancer (non-myeloid), who receive anti-cancer medicines (chemotherapy) that can cause fever and low blood cell count.

    Important Safety Information

    Who should not take Neulasta®?

    Do not take Neulasta® if you have had a serious allergic reaction to Neulasta® (pegfilgrastim) or NEUPOGEN® (filgrastim).

    What should I tell my health care provider before taking Neulasta®? Tell your healthcare provider if you:

    • Have sickle cell trait or sickle cell disease
    • Have had severe skin reactions to acrylic adhesives
    • Are allergic to latex
    • Have problems with your kidneys
    • Have any other medical problems
    • Are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Neulasta® may harm your unborn baby.
    • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Neulasta® passes into your breast milk.

    Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

    What are possible serious side effects of Neulasta®?

    • Spleen Rupture. Your spleen may become enlarged and can rupture while taking Neulasta®. A ruptured spleen can cause death. Call your doctor right away if you have pain in the left upper stomach area or left shoulder tip area. This pain could mean your spleen is enlarged or ruptured.
    • A serious lung problem called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical help right away if you get any of these symptoms of ARDS: fever, shortness of breath, trouble breathing, or a fast rate of breathing.
    • Serious Allergic Reactions. Get emergency medical help right away if you get any of these symptoms of a serious allergic reaction with Neulasta®: shortness of breath, wheezing, dizziness, swelling around the mouth or eyes, fast pulse, sweating, and hives.

    If you have an allergic reaction during the delivery of Neulasta®, remove the On-body Injector for Neulasta® by grabbing the edge of the adhesive pad and peeling off the On-body Injector. Get emergency medical help right away.

    • Sickle Cell Crises. Severe sickle cell crises, and sometimes death, can happen in people with sickle cell trait or disease who receive filgrastim, a medicine similar to Neulasta®.
    • Kidney injury (glomerulonephritis). Kidney injury has been seen in patients who received Neulasta®. You should notify your healthcare provider right away if you experience puffiness in your face or ankles, blood in your urine or brown colored urine or you notice you urinate less than usual.
    • Increased white blood cell count (leukocytosis). Your doctor will check your blood during treatment with Neulasta®.
    • Capillary Leak Syndrome. Neulasta® can cause fluid to leak from blood vessels into your body's tissues. This condition is called "Capillary Leak Syndrome" (CLS). CLS can quickly cause you to have symptoms that may become life-threatening. Get emergency medical help right away if you develop any of the following symptoms:
      • swelling or puffiness and are urinating less often
      • trouble breathing
      • swelling of your stomach-area (abdomen) and feeling of fullness
      • dizziness or feeling faint
      • a general feeling of tiredness

    The most common side effect of Neulasta® is pain in the bones and in your arms and legs.

    Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of Neulasta®. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088).

    For more information about Neulasta®, talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist; go to, or call 1-844-696-3852 (1-844-MYNEULASTA).

    Please see Neulasta® Patient Information.