What Are Your Options?

Imagine cancer care clinics as restaurants. Chefs have many ingredients to create recipes—cancer care calls them protocols—for different dishes. Ingredients (therapies) can be combined in many ways. A standard fare American restaurant would offer conventional chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, and some new dishes like immunotherapies and experimental therapies. A Chinese restaurant would offer traditional Chinese medicine and qigong. A naturopathic restaurant would use many many natural products. Some restaurants would offer “fusion menus,” combining conventional and complementary therapy dishes. You wouldn’t expect everyone to want to eat in the same restaurant. Tastes differ and needs differ.

Michael Lerner

The options in cancer care are conventional (mainstream) care alone, complementary (or alternative) cancer care alone, integrating conventional and complementary care, or palliative (comfort) care alone. The right choice will depend on your goals and beliefs, and also on your resources.

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Start with your goals and beliefs

The "right" choice for you depends on your goals and beliefs, as well as your willingness and ability to undertake a course of action. What's "right" is different for each person.

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Decision making under pressure

This guide, written by people who have been there, explores how to make decisions in response to your diagnosis.

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Questions for your care providers

As you build a team that's devoted to supporting your healing, it helps to know what to ask as you meet with practitioners who specialize in various disciplines.

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The spectrum of integrative care

Integrative cancer care encompasses everything from traditional Chinese medicine, which has been practiced for thousands of years, to the off-label use of modern-day pharmaceuticals.  

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Integrative protocols and plans

Integrative protocols, treatment plans, regimens and programs are unique "recipes" that draw on various sources to create customized approaches to cancer care.

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Help navigating your options

Professional advocates and navigators can help you through the maze of options that you're faced with.

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Images from Creative Commons:

  • Oliver Henze
  • Véronique Debord-Lazaro
  • Rajesh_India
  • weixin
  • Bob Leckridge

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