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    Complementary Medicine: What Are My Choices?

    Complementary medicine can help you manage some of the emotional and physical side effects of your cancer and its treatment. Here's a rundown of a few treatments you might use. This chart includes integrative treatments with the best evidence to show that they work as well as the ones that are the most widely used.

    This type of treatment should not replace traditional medical care. Instead, you should use these therapies along with chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and other treatments your doctor prescribed.

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    Talk to your doctor before you try any complementary therapies. Even "natural" therapies can have side effects and interactions, just like medical treatments.

    Acupuncture and acupressure: These techniques insert thin needles or apply pressure to certain points on your skin.

    How do they help? Evidence suggests they can ease cancer pain as well as nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy.

    Are they safe? Both are safe when done by a qualified provider. Side effects are usually minor. They include pain at the needle site, fatigue, and infections. Talk to your doctor if you’re taking blood thinners.

    Creative therapies: This type of treatment includes music, dance, and art.

    How do they help? They can help lessen stress, fear, and worries from cancer and its treatments.

    Are they safe? Yes. Just don’t overdo the dancing if you aren’t up to it.

    Biofeedback: This technique uses sensors and a monitor to help you gain control over body functions that are normally automatic -- like your heart rate and breathing.

    How does it help? It may lower stress and pain and help you manage your illness better.

    Is it safe? Yes, but talk to your doctor before you try it if you have a pacemaker.

    Chiropractic care: In this hands-on practice, a chiropractor moves your bones and joints to improve spine alignment.

    How does it help? It may help ease back pain, joint pain, and headaches.

    Is it safe? Yes, but it might cause mild side effects like aches and pains or a headache. An adjustment could raise your odds of having a stroke, but it isn’t likely.

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