Safety and Risks

Before considering CAM:

Most complementary and alternative medicine fields are not standardized or controlled by any Western medical guidelines. Always consult with your physician before beginning any complementary or alternative medicine therapy, because some therapies may interfere with standard treatment.

Being an informed healthcare consumer when considering complementary or alternative medicine is important. Ways to gather information before starting any therapy include:

  • consulting your physician.
  • researching on the Internet.
  • researching in the library (books, articles, and scientific journals).
  • speaking with others who have tried the therapy.
  • looking for controlled, scientific studies about the therapy, whenever possible.

What warning signs may indicate a fraudulent therapy?

According to the American Cancer Society, if a treatment has the following warning signs, it is better to avoid it:

  • treatment based on unproven theories
  • treatment that promises a cure
  • patient is told not to use standard/conventional medicine
  • treatment is a secret and can only be give by certain providers
  • treatment requires travel to another country
  • treatment providers discount standard/conventional medicine

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