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Cancers 2011, 3(1), 773-788; doi:10.3390/cancers3010773

A Methodological Framework for Evaluating the Evidence for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for Cancer

Psychooncology Research Unit, Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital, and Department of Psychology, University of Aarhus, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
Research Unit Health, Man & Society, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, JB Winsløws Vej 9B, 5000 Odense C, Denmark
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 January 2011 / Revised: 5 February 2011 / Accepted: 21 February 2011 / Published: 23 February 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Diagnosis and Targeted Therapy)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [164 KB, uploaded 23 February 2011]


In spite of lacking evidence for effects on cancer progression itself, an increasing number of cancer patients use various types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). There is disagreement between CAM practitioners, researchers and clinical oncologists, as to how evidence concerning effects of CAM can and should be produced, and how the existing evidence should be interpreted. This represents a considerable challenge for oncologists; both in terms of patient needs for an informed dialogue regarding CAM, and because some types of CAM may interact with standard treatments. There is a need for insight into which kinds of CAM may work, for whom they work, what the possible effects and side-effects are, and in what ways such effects may come about. The present article presents a framework for evaluating effects of CAM by suggesting a taxonomy of different levels of evidence related to different types of research questions and discussing the relevance of different research methodologies for different types of effects. View Full-Text
Keywords: complementary and alternative medicine; evaluation; effects; research methodology complementary and alternative medicine; evaluation; effects; research methodology
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Zachariae, R.; Johannessen, H. A Methodological Framework for Evaluating the Evidence for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) for Cancer. Cancers 2011, 3, 773-788.

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