Breast cancer is the main contributor to the global cancer-mortality for women, according to the World Health Organization. 15% of all deaths from cancer in women are attributed to the breast cancer. Although breast cancer is more common in developed countries, it is, unfortunately, spreading globally. In 2015, at a global level, more than half a million women died from breast cancer.

In this article, we will be writing about novice integrative therapy introduced in the study “Integrative Therapies During and After Breast Cancer Treatment: ASCO Endorsement of the SIO Clinical Practice Guideline” which is published in the online Journal of Clinical Oncology on June 11. The guidelines are conducted by the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO) and reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Society (ASCO).

As a matter of fact, in few words, integrative therapies are techniques based on proof which aims to manage the side effects of common breast cancer treatments. One should not be confused because these treatments don’t aim to replace conventional breast cancer treatments like hormone treatments, chemotherapy, surgery etc. but to only mitigate the well-known side effects. Researchers examined data from peer-reviewed control trials administered from 1990 to 2013 and initiated integrative therapy during standard treatments, recorded side effects from the treatments, documented endpoint by recording noteworthy effects on a treatment or side effect.

From the research, Dr. Gary Lyman, who was part of the ASCO expert panel, was pronounced for the online Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that acupuncture has been backed by scientific proof to lessen joint pain which happens as a result of the breast cancer treatment. Not only this, but acupuncture therapy has also been shown to help in reducing nausea, along with medicine for nausea treatment. Dr. Greenlee interestingly continues saying that that the majority, about 80%, of those who are diagnosed and undergo cancer treatments also undergo integrative medicine but anyways she points out the fact that there is a lack of information on what performs well and what doesn’t on certain patients.

The ASCO professionals articulated a list for integrative therapies from grade A to I. The recommendation of the Grade A therapy signified important net benefits while Grade B therapy recommendation signified average net benefits. Both of these two therapies were recommended to oncologists for applying to patients. Furthermore, therapies of Grade C should be proposed to patients only with their consent and based on oncologists’ professional analysis. Grade D therapies didn’t appear to cause benefits and thus weren’t recommended, same as therapies of Grade H which appeared to be hurtful. Grade I therapies had a lack of scientific proof.

Below you will be able to read some side effects of breast cancer treatments and the corresponding integrative therapies, according to the guidelines from ASCO.

  • Anxiety – The recommended therapies for anxiety reduction involve yoga, music therapy, meditation as well as group stress management. Massage, acupuncture and relaxation would be proposed to certain patients only selectively.
  • Pain management –  Oncologists should selectively propose to patients therapies like healing touch, hypnosis therapy, music therapy and acupuncture.
  • Fatigue as a result of treatment – To reduce fatigue, oncologists should selectively propose to patients therapies like yoga, acupuncture, hypnosis and ginseng. Ginseng is suggested to be used only after health professionals guidance as it has risks of harming the patients who suffer from breast cancer. Guarana and Acetyl-L-carnitine are not recommended to be taken against fatigue from patients with breast cancer.
  • Depression and mood – ASCO experts strongly recommend therapies like mindfulness, massage, yoga, music therapy and relaxation meanwhile oncologists are required to selectively propose acupuncture, stress management and healing touch to certain patients.
  • Lymphedema – Oncologists should selectively propose manual lymphatic seepage, compression wound covering and low-level laser therapy to patients.
  • Nausea & vomiting – Experts suggest oncologist professionals to selectively propose electro-acupuncture, relaxation, acupressure and ginger to patients added to nausea anti-emetic medication and vomiting during chemotherapy.