SIO & ASCO Collaborate on Clinical Practice Guidelines

January 29, 2021

Two years ago in a blog post, BCCT remarked: “Integrative Cancer Care: How Far We’ve Come!” Then it was about the American Society for Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) endorsement of the Society for Integrative Oncology’s (SIO) clinical practice guidelines, Integrative Therapies During and After Breast Cancer Treatment: ASCO Endorsement of the SIO Clinical Practice Guideline. We thought that was a big deal.

We hoped then that the growing evidence base for complementary therapies, along with patient interest and demand, would continue to bring ASCO and SIO closer to working on a common goal of providing person-centered care in a more integrative way. Now we see that hope one step closer to realization.

The guidelines themselves will be incredibly helpful to patients and clinicians.

On October 27, 2020, SIO announced “The Society for Integrative Oncology ... is collaborating with the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®), the world’s leading professional organization of its kind representing oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer, to develop a series of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative therapies in oncology care. The guidelines ... will provide clinicians and patients much-needed guidance on safely and effectively treating common cancer symptoms and side effects using integrative approaches.”1

The collaboration represents the ongoing deepening fusion of conventional and integrative oncology.

BCCT thinks this genuine collaboration is an even bigger deal. The guidelines themselves will be incredibly helpful to patients and clinicians. On a broader level, the collaboration represents the ongoing deepening fusion of conventional and integrative oncology. ASCO and SIO are the right institutions to clear a path to whole person-centered cancer care.

Realistically, because the primary clinical audience will be conventional practice physicians who are open to an integrative approach, BCCT expects that these guidelines will be at the conservative end of the integrative cancer spectrum. Similar to SIO’s other clinical practice guidelines, these will likely include only those therapies tested in randomized controlled trials—a reasonable approach given the target audience. 

As these guidelines are published, they will make their way into BCCT’s reviews.

We welcome the vital progress of SIO and ASCO as they move toward integrative cancer care that will reduce suffering and improve outcomes. As these guidelines are published, they will make their way into BCCT’s reviews alongside their predecessors in our cancer handbooks and therapy summaries. We eagerly await their completion. 

We know that skillful integrative oncologists use not only evidence-based but also evidence-informed therapies that may not appear in these guidelines. We recognize that the forward edge of integrative care will always rest with patients and clinicians and researchers who are defining the new frontiers. But these collaborative guidelines are an important step forward in the field of cancer care.

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