Complementary therapies may help you cope with the effects of treatment

Complementary therapies such as relaxation techniques, massage, acupuncture and herbal remedies do not aim to cure your breast cancer, but you may find they have a positive effect on your wellbeing when used alongside conventional treatments. They can also help you cope with the side effects of your treatment such as menopausal symptoms.

If you are thinking of using complementary therapies, it is important that you discuss them with your oncologist first, in case they interfere with your conventional treatment.

Complementary therapies can be delivered by therapy practitioners or GPs and may be available at breast units and hospitals, as well as outside the NHS. Your breast care team or GP will be able to tell you what is available at your hospital and in your local area.

When certain therapies are used in place of conventional treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, they are called ‘alternative therapies’. We don’t advise the use of alternative therapies because there is no scientific evidence that they are effective in treating breast cancer by themselves.

Need more information?

You can find more information on specific complementary therapies at NHS choices, Macmillan Cancer Support and Breast Cancer Care.

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Breast Cancer Now’s health information is produced following best practice guidelines developed by the Patient Information Forum. 

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