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Complementary Medicine and Patient Information: the French experience
By Laurent Zelek, recorded at TAO (Transatlantic Oncology meeting), Nov 20-21, 2014, Paris
Laurent Zelek provides an overview of complementary medicine in France. Alternative medicine used by oncologic patients in France includes, for example, homeopathy, food supplements, therapeutic fasting, phytotherapy and acupuncture. The vast majority of patients use it as a complement in order to improve control of the side effects and enhance their quality of life, but the French authorities fear that patients lose sight of their oncologic therapy if they get involved in alternative medicine. This ideological position impeded closer cooperation between hospitals’ oncology units and practitioners of alternative medicine, making it difficult for oncologists to supervise patients’ use of alternative medicine, even though certain therapies or food supplements can be harmful under certain conditions. However, there are now two national associations for complementary medicine in oncology: CAMI for the promotion of physical exercise and AFSOS for supportive care.
Laurent Zelek, Hôpital Avicennes, Bobigny, France