CAM, Integrative or Unconventional Med?


Complementary, Alternative, Integrative, or Unconventional Medicine?

Richard T. Penson, Cesar M. Castro, Michael V. Seiden, Bruce A. Chabner, Thomas J. Lynch, Jr.

Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology-Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence: Richard T. Penson, MRCP, Instructor in Medicine, Hematology-Oncology, Cox 809, 100 Blossom Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02114-2617, USA. Telephone: 617-726-5867; Fax: 617-724-3166; e-mail:

The center sponsors the Schwartz Center Rounds, a monthly multidisciplinary forum where caregivers reflect on important psychosocial issues faced by patients, their families, and their caregivers, and gain insight and support from fellow staff members.

Interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has grown exponentially in the past decade, fueled by Internet marketing, dissatisfaction with mainstream medicine, and a desire for patients to be actively involved in their health care.

There is a large discordance between physician estimates and reported prevalence of CAM use. Many patients do not disclose their practices mainly because they believe CAM falls outside the rubric of conventional medicine or because physicians do not ask.

Concern about drug interactions and adverse effects are compounded by a lack of Food and Drug Administration regulation. Physicians need to be informed about CAM and be attuned to the psychosocial needs of patients.

Shortly before his death in 1995, Kenneth B. Schwartz, a cancer patient at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), founded the Kenneth B. Schwartz Center. The Schwartz Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and advancing compassionate health care delivery, which provides hope to the patient, support to caregivers, and sustenance to the healing process.

Alt Cures: "Unproven"/"Disproven"

CA Cancer J Clin 2004

Ann Fonfa's Letter to the Journal
Advertisement for Society of Integrative Oncology 1st meeting

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