Jan 19, 2017
This podcast highlights original research published in the February 2017 issue of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, the official journal of the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) Foundation.
Complementary and alternative medicine, or integrative medicine, has become increasingly popular among patients with head and neck cancer. Despite its increasing prevalence, many patients feel uncomfortable discussing such therapies with their physicians, and many physicians are unaware and underequipped to evaluate or discuss their use with patients. The aim of this article is to use recent data to outline the decision making inherent to integrative medicine utilization among patients with head and neck cancer, to discuss the ethical implications inherent to balancing integrative and conventional approaches to treatment, and to highlight available resources to enhance head and neck cancer providers’ understanding of integrative medicine.
Integrative medicine is gaining popularity for the management of cancer and is most commonly used for symptom management. A number of randomized controlled trials provide data to support integrative therapies, yet physicians who treat head and neck cancer may be faced with ethical dilemmas and practical barriers surrounding incorporation of integrative medicine.