Complementary therapies are treatments used alongside conventional cancer treatments to improve general health and wellbeing.
They are widely used in Australia – it’s estimated that two out of three people with cancer use some type of complementary therapy during or after their cancer treatment.
There are many reasons why people with cancer consider using complementary therapies. They may offer you physical, emotional and spiritual support, reduce side effects from medical treatment, and improve your quality of life.
If you want to consider using complementary therapies, discuss this with your doctors, pharmacists and other health professionals qualified in the therapies you are interested in.
Learn more about:
- Different cancer treatments
- Key questions about complementary therapies
- Whole medical systems
- Mind-body techniques
- Body-based practices
- Energy therapies
- Therapies using herbs and plants
- Therapies based on diet
- Making treatment decisions
- Caring for someone with cancer
- Professional associations
- Useful websites
- Useful questions
Video: What are complementary therapies?
Podcast: Meditation and Relaxation Exercises
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Suzanne Grant, Senior Acupuncturist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; A/Prof Craig Hassed, Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice, Monash University, VIC; Mara Lidums, Consumer; Tanya McMillan, Consumer; Simone Noelker, Physiotherapist and Wellness Centre Manager, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; A/Prof Byeongsang Oh, Acupuncturist, University of Sydney and Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, NSW; Sue Suchy, Consumer; Marie Veale, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland, QLD; Prof Anne Williams, Nursing Research Consultant, Centre for Nursing Research, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and Chair, Health Research, School of Health Professions, Murdoch University, WA. We also thank the health professionals, consumers and editorial teams who have worked on previous editions of this title.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment