What is the Integrative Oncology?

Virginia Von Schaefer, M.D.
3 min readFeb 11, 2023

Patients with cancer often use medicines and practices that aren’t part of standard cancer care but can help ease symptoms and improve life. Acupuncture, yoga, and meditation are all examples of these therapies. But doctors don’t always learn about them in school, and many patients don’t know about them either. This makes it hard for people to find their way around the complicated world of CAM therapies.

Integrative oncology is a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer that uses both traditional treatments and alternative therapies that have been shown to work. Its goal is to help cancer patients and their families deal with side effects, lower the risk of cancer returning, improve the quality of life, and stop other cancers from happening.

Integrative medicine programs at cancer centers often offer a wide range of mind-body and body-based therapies, such as mindfulness, biofeedback, meditation, relaxation, guided imagery, hypnosis, yoga, music therapy, and creative/expressive therapies. These therapies can help with pain, nausea, fatigue, and other symptoms and can be used with or without traditional treatments.

But not all complementary methods are safe for everyone, so you should talk to your provider before using them to ensure you’re doing it right. For example, people with lymphedema should not get a deep tissue massage, and people with a low white blood cell count should not get acupuncture.

Integrative oncology is a field of cancer care that goes beyond traditional treatments by using changes in lifestyle, mind-body practices, and natural products from different cultures. It also tries to get patients and their families involved in their care, from preventing illness to getting treatment to staying healthy afterward.

This makes it possible for patients and health care professionals to make decisions together based on the patient’s values, preferences, and the latest research evidence for therapeutic approaches (like pain medications or acupuncture). Based on evidence-informed patient-centered care, this idea improves health and prevents treatment side effects that could make the patient unhappy.

This method also helps people manage their expectations about what can be done with CAM. This is important because many cancer patients use some complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and many have higher hopes that CAM will help them get better or live longer.

Integrative oncology is a way to treat cancer that combines traditional treatments with mind-body practices, natural products, and changes to how you live your life. Its goal is to improve health, quality of life, and clinical outcomes for people with cancer by involving patients and their families before, during, and after treatment.

At Hunterdon Hematology Oncology in Flemington, New Jersey, our highly trained staff can help you deal with cancer by using counseling, behavioral therapy, and relaxation techniques, among other things. Call us or make an appointment online today to learn more about how these treatments can make your cancer experience less stressful.

People with cancer often find it hard to control their symptoms and deal with stress. These are common problems that can be helped with non-drug treatments like acupuncture, therapeutic massage, yoga, meditation, and other alternative ways to treat symptoms.

Integrative oncology combines traditional cancer treatments with other therapies to help people heal and deal with side effects. Yoga, acupuncture, massage, and meditation are all part of it. Glosik says that this method focuses on healing instead of curing. She says the goal is to get people in the best shape possible to use their natural healing abilities.

She also says that integrative oncology programs can be found all over the world. They can help cancer patients, and their families feel better and maintain good health.

But several global problems make it hard to give evidence-based cancer care, such as the rise in the number of people who get cancer and die from it. Because of this, the World Health Organization (WHO) wants to ensure that traditional, complementary, and integrative medicine (TCIM) makes a bigger contribution to universal health care. This area of research is important for filling in the gaps in high-quality, evidence-based, patient-centered care. To do this, more clinical research and more stable financial models must be done.



Virginia Von Schaefer, M.D.

Virginia Von Schaefer, M.D. is a medical doctor with over 35 years of clinical experience in general and trauma surgery, oncology and endocrinology.