Karim S, Benn R, Carlson LE, Fouladbakhsh J, Greenlee H, Harris R, Henry NL, Jolly S, Mayhew S, Spratke L, Walker EM, Zebrack B, and Zick SM. Integrative Oncology Education: An Emerging Competency for Oncology Providers. Curr Oncol 2021; 28(1):853-862.
A growing number of cancer patients use complementary and alternative therapies during and after conventional cancer treatment. Patients are often reluctant to discuss these therapies with their oncologist, and oncologists may have limited knowledge and confidence on how to advise patients on the appropriate use. Integrative oncology is a patient-centered, evidence-informed field that utilizes mind-body practices, lifestyle modifications and/or natural products interwoven with conventional cancer treatment. It prioritizes safety and best available evidence to offer appropriate interventions alongside conventional care. There are few opportunities for oncologists to learn about integrative oncology. In this commentary, we highlight the Integrative Oncology Scholars (IOS) program as a means to increase competency in this growing field. We provide an overview of several integrative oncology modalities that are taught through this program, including lifestyle modifications, physical activity, and mind-body interventions. We conclude that as more evidence is generated in this field, it will be essential that oncology healthcare providers are aware of the prevalent use of these modalities by their patients and cancer centers include Integrative Oncology trained physicians and other healthcare professionals in their team to discuss and recommend evidence-based integrative oncology therapies alongside conventional cancer treatments to their patients.