- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Complementary therapies
- Safety concerns
- Warning signs to look out for
Warning signs to look out for
Keep the following warning signs in mind about any therapy or medicine you are thinking about using alongside or instead of a conventional treatment or medicine.
- Any claims that the treatment cures cancer and other illnesses.
- The treatment costs a lot of money, you need to pay in advance for several months’ supply or you can only buy it from the therapist.
- The medicine is not listed with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
- The therapist is not qualified in the therapy they provide or not registered with a governing body or professional association.
- The therapist tells you not to use conventional treatment or medicine as it will stop their therapy or remedy from working.
- The therapist suggests changes to your conventional treatment, asks you not to talk to your doctors about the treatment, or won’t tell you what the ingredients are in a herbal preparation they give you.
- The therapist says there are clinical studies showing the effectiveness of their remedy or therapy, but does not show you any articles that have appeared in trustworthy journals reviewed by other scientists.
- The therapist says that the medicine has worked miraculously in other people.
- All potential side effects have not been explained.
- You need to travel overseas to have the treatment.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) tracks health and medical scams to help the public spot and avoid scams. To find out more, visit their websites at scamwatch.gov.au or accc.gov.au.
The right therapy for you will depend on your treatment goals. See Questions for your doctor for things to consider when choosing a complementary therapy and finding a complementary therapist.
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Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Dr David Joske, Clinical Haematologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and PathWest, Chairman and Founder Solaris Cancer Care Foundation, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The University of Western Australia, WA; Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA); Dr Robert Blum, Clinical Director, Cancer Services, Bendigo Health, NSW; Sally Brooks, Senior Pharmacist, Medicines Information, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Suzanne Grant, Senior Research Fellow, NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, and Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, NSW; Prof Danforn Lim, Adjunct Professor and Advisory Board Member, NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, and Adjunct Professor, UTS, NSW; Christina Line, Statewide Services Senior Coordinator, Cancer Council WA; Jen McKenzie, Physiotherapist (Lymphoedema) and ESSA Accredited Exercise Physiologist, The McKenzie Clinic, QLD; Simone Noelker, Wellness Centre and Pastoral Care Manager, Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Centre, VIC; Dr Nirzari Pandit, General Practitioner, RACGP Specific Interests Integrative Medicine Group, NSW; Georgie Pearson, Consumer; Cris Pirone, Counsellor, Cancer Council SA; Dr Elysia Thornton-Benko, Specialist General Practitioner, and UNSW Research Fellow, NSW; Kirsty Trebilcock, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
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