What are the different cancer treatments?

Learn how conventional medicine, complementary therapies, and alternative therapies differ:

Conventional treatments and medicines 

These can be used to control or treat cancer by slowing or stopping the growth and spread of the disease. They can also provide relief from symptoms. Conventional treatments are based on scientific evidence and clinical trials. They include surgery, radiation therapy (also known as radiotherapy) and systemic treatments, such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy.

Complementary therapies and medicines

These tend to focus on the whole person, not just the cancer. They are used with conventional medicine, and may help people cope better with symptoms of cancer and/or side effects caused by conventional treatments. Some have been scientifically tested and shown to work. Research into complementary therapies and medicines is growing.

Alternative therapies and medicines

These are used in place of conventional treatments and medicine. Many alternative therapies have not been scientifically tested, so there is no proof they stop cancer growing or spreading. Others have been tested and shown not to be effective. While side effects of alternative treatments are not always known, some are serious and can delay or stop the cancer being treated effectively. Examples include coffee enemas and magnet therapy.

Integrative oncology or medicine

This is the combined use of conventional treatments and evidence-based complementary his approach has been adopted by some cancer centres.

Integrative medicine is the combined use of conventional cancer treatments and evidence-based complementary therapies.

What is the evidence behind these complementary therapies? Read more here.

“Complementary” versus “alternative”

The terms “complementary” and “alternative” are often used as though they mean the same thing. And although they are sometimes combined into one phrase – complementary and alternative therapies – they are different. Complementary therapies are used alongside conventional treatments and

medicines, usually to manage side effects. Alternative therapies are used instead of conventional treatments. Many complementary therapies are being scientifically researched for use in people with cancer, while alternative therapies are unlikely to have been tested in this way.


Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Complementary Therapies.


Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in April 2018
View who reviewed this content
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