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Many women explore alternative treatment for their breast cancer as a way to supplement their medical treatment. These alternative methods may be expensive, and they may not be covered by your health insurance. Be sure to discuss any alternative treatment with your healthcare provider to find out if it could have a negative effect on your medical treatment.

Breast Cancer Alternative Treatment: An Overview

In addition to medical treatment, some cancer patients want to try alternative treatment to ease stress or to reduce side effects and symptoms. Some patients feel that these alternative treatments for breast cancer offer some benefit.
Before you try any of these treatments, you should discuss their possible value and side effects with your medical doctors. You should let them know if you are using any such alternative treatment for breast cancer. These alternative treatments should never be used instead of medical treatment.
Be aware that these therapies may be expensive; some are not paid for by health insurance. You should consider asking the therapist for evidence of how the therapy has helped others, possibly by giving you references.

Types of Alternative Breast Cancer Treatments

Some types of breast cancer alternative treatment include:
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Herbal products
  • Vitamins or special diets
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Visualization
  • Meditation
  • Spiritual healing
  • Yoga
  • Biofeedback.

Recommendations on Alternative Treatment

Before trying any type of alternative treatment, you should discuss its possible benefits and harmful effects with your doctor.
You may want to ask your doctor these breast cancer alternative treatment questions:
  • What benefits can I expect from this approach?
  • What are its risks?
  • Do the expected benefits outweigh the risks?
  • What side effects should I watch for?
  • Will this alternative treatment change the way my breast cancer treatment works? Could this be harmful?
  • Is this approach under study in a clinical trial? If so, who sponsors the trial?
  • Will my health insurance pay for this approach?
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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