• Mayo Clinic Minute: How integrative medicine can help people with cancer

For people with cancer, overcoming the disease and the side effects of treatment doesn't always require a medicine bottle. There are some alternative options that may help, and they fall under the specialty of integrative medicine.

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For many cancer patients, the treatments can be hard on the body.

"They can cause nausea. They can cause pain. They can hurt your sleep pattern," says Dr. Brent Bauer, a Mayo Clinic integrative medicine specialist.

Dr. Bauer says there are options that don't require taking a pill to help those with cancer and the side effects of treatment.

"It's having a bigger toolkit, but the toolkit has to be filled with things that have good clinical science behind them," he says.

Acupuncture or aromatherapy to treat nausea, or tai chi or massage for pain are just a few of the integrative medicine options.

"We try it, and if it works, we continue it — always in collaboration with the primary team," Dr. Bauer says.

He says integrative medicine is meant to complement conventional medical care. And it's best to start with the basics of good nutrition and getting the proper amount of exercise to remain healthy.

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