Cancer Therapy: Know Your Options

People with cancer—along with their loved ones and doctors—face challenging decisions. These new resources can help.

Courtesy American Cancer Society

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Experts provide reliable information on cancer therapies that work, as well as ones that don’t, in The American Cancer Society (ACS) Complete Guide to Complementary & Alternative Cancer Therapies. The book is available online, at bookstores, and by calling the ACS toll free at 1-800-227-2345.

“With more and more cancer patients (and people at risk for cancer) turning to self-help measures such as complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies, it is imperative that patients, their families, and care teams get on the same page about the safety and efficacy of these therapies alongside conventional cancer therapy,” says longtime ACS volunteer Dr. David Rosenthal, a Harvard professor of medicine and medical director of the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “This book is a valuable resource for the public and the clinicians alike, offering just the right blend of Eastern and Western medical approaches.”

The 2009 second edition discusses the medical evidence for potential risks and benefits of more than 200 treatments in five broad categories: mind, body, and spirit; manual healing and physical touch; herbs, vitamins, and minerals; diet and nutrition; and pharmacologics and biologics.

The first-ever Patient’s Guide to Rare Cancer includes detailed information regarding rare cancers, treatment goals, check-ups, and patient assistance programs.

“Rare cancers befuddle not only patients, but their physicians and care team as well,” says Dr. Debu Tripathy, co-leader of the Women’s Cancer Program at the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The Patient’s Guide to Rare Cancer provides the information that patients need to ensure their diagnosis is being reviewed with the proper expertise and that the care plan reflects broad input from the multiple disciplines it take to maximize the chances for success.”

The online resource also helps patients with rare cancers and their health care providers collaborate and communicate more effectively.

“Our approaches to rare cancers are becoming increasingly complicated, with sophisticated new diagnostic techniques and tailored innovative therapies,” adds Dr. Tripathy, who is also editor-in-chief of CURE magazine. “The patient and care team must form a partnership to make sure all avenues are explored—this is the main intent of the Guide.”

Other helpful information is available online for people with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) at and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) at

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