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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 979213, 15 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/979213
Review Article

Cancer-Related Stress and Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Review

James P. Wilmot Cancer Center, Department of Radiation Oncology, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester Medical Center, Saunders Research Building, 265 Crittenden Boulevard, Office 2.224, Box CU 420658, Rochester, NY 14642, USA

Received 2 January 2012; Accepted 1 June 2012

Academic Editor: Alyson Huntley

Copyright © 2012 Kavita D. Chandwani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

A cancer diagnosis elicits strong psychophysiological reactions that characterize stress. Stress is experienced by all patients but is usually not discussed during patient-healthcare professional interaction; thus underdiagnosed, very few are referred to support services. The prevalence of CAM use in patients with history of cancer is growing. The purpose of the paper is to review the aspects of cancer-related stress and interventions of commonly used complementary and alternative techniques/products for amelioration of cancer-related stress. Feasibility of intervention of several CAM techniques and products commonly used by cancer patients and survivors has been established in some cancer populations. Efficacy of some CAM techniques and products in reducing stress has been documented as well as stress-related symptoms in patients with cancer such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, yoga, Tai Chi Chuan, acupuncture, energy-based techniques, and physical activity. Much of the research limitations include small study samples and variety of intervention length and content. Efficacy and safety of many CAM techniques and some herbs and vitamin B and D supplements need to be confirmed in further studies using scientific methodology. Several complementary and alternative medicine therapies could be integrated into standard cancer care to ameliorate cancer-related stress.