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ASCO Endorses Complementary Therapy Guidelines for Patients With Breast Cancer

Jason Harris
Published: Friday, Aug 31, 2018
Gary H. Lyman, MD, FASCO

Gary H. Lyman, MD, FASCO
In an effort to address strategies that many patients with cancer are adopting, ASCO has endorsed recommendations regarding the use of complementary therapies such as meditation, yoga, and acupuncture to manage symptoms and adverse effects of breast cancer treatment.1,2

The ASCO guideline excluded lifestyle changes that have been extensively written about elsewhere, including diet and exercise, mainstream interventions such as support groups, and practices like attention-restoration therapy that are in the earliest stages of clinical evaluation. Practices such as prayer and spirituality were not considered specifically integrative oncology therapy.

Table. ASCO-Endorsed Guidelines for Integrative Therapies1

ASCO-Endorsed Guidelines for Integrative Therapies

Categories of Interventions

The recommendations were categorized by symptom, and the strength of the evidence was graded on a scale of A to I, with “A” representing the strongest findings (Table).1 Conditions and adverse effects such as fatigue, quality of life and physical functioning, pain, and sleep disturbance were included. “Certainly, the mind–body area was the one that received the most support,” Cohen said. “Yoga received a grade of B, which, of course, is something that would be recommended for depressed mood or mood disturbance, as well as for anxiety and stress reduction.
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