“CAM-Cancer” is the name of a project entitled "Concerted Action for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Assessment in the Cancer Field" (CAM-Cancer). Originally funded by the European Commission (EC) within the Framework 5 Programme, it is now hosted by the National Information Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIFAB) at the University of Tromsø, Norway.
The aims of the CAM-Cancer project are:
- to prepare and disseminate suitable evidence-based information for health professionals in order to assist them in informing their patients
- to build an international authoritative network around CAM in cancer led by a panel of experts in CAM research and/or in cancer care with privileged contacts to cancer organizations.
The project has a number of key outcomes:
The CAM Summaries are peer-reviewed and up-to-date summaries of the existing scientific information on CAM in cancer. They aim to summarize facts on CAM and provide clear statements to health professionals. Documentation with regards to efficacy/effectiveness and safety issues as well as CAM background, promoter claims, description of treatment methods, and biologic mechanisms are presented in a clear and easily accessible format.
Searching and reviewing the evidence
How to conduct a review of a clearly formulated question that uses systematic and explicit methods to identify, select and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review. The CAM-Cancer consortium would like to refer to the paper prepared by White A, Schmidt K. Systematic literature reviews. Comp Ther Med 2005;13:54-60.
Since October 2002 we have been developing a network of key stakeholders with an interest in CAM. We welcome other people to get involved in the CAM-Cancer project. Please contact us if you would like to find out how you can become part of this exciting initiative.
Main funders of CAM-Cancer are currently the National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM) at the University of Tromso, Norway and Reliable Cancer Therapies (RCT), a non-profit organisation providing research-based information on cancer therapies.CAM-Cancer receives no commercial funding or funding from any institution with a conflict of interest.
If you are interested in supporting the project please contact us: email@example.com .
The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) by cancer patients is reported to increase. CAM are defined as methods that are not part of standard medical treatment (as described by evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, consensus statements or common medical practice) and are either used instead of (alternatively) or in addition (complementary) to a standard cancer treatment. These methods represent a great variety ranging from chemically well-defined molecules or other substances and mixtures from plant or animal origin to non-material methods like mind-body therapies, spiritual healing or psychosocial procedures.
The reasons why cancer patients use CAM are complex. Some patients hope to cure the disease or support their body in the fight against the disease. Others hope to reduce the side effects of conventional cancer treatments or are generally disappointed with their conventional treatment. The desire to explore all treatment possibilities and/or to take control and have an active input into their treatment is another factor. At a psychosocial level, patients are facing fears about death and are searching for support and hope.
The challenge for oncologists is to give an objective and responsible answer to this type of demand. An informative dialogue should therefore be offered on all questions and needs of patients and their relatives. The patient autonomy should be respected but the oncologist has to discuss and negotiate a realistic and safe treatment plan with their patients. Oncologists also need to be aware of their patients’ use of CAM and should ask them patients about it directly, as many of them do not report their CAM use to their regular health provider. Doctors need objective and independent information on CAM methods, especially on safety issues like adverse effects and possible interactions, as well as a critical appraisal of medical evidence. This space should not be left empty and therefore available to misinformation or any form of quackery.
Cancer patients and the public are flooded with information about CAM. Rumours, the media, and the internet spread accurate and inaccurate information at accelerating rates. It is critical that both, patients and physicians, have access to reliable evidence-based information. Today there are many scattered resources available resulting in redundancies and sometimes outdated publications. By bringing leading CAM and cancer experts together, the CAM-Cancer project seeks to present an authoritative information resource supported by CAM and/or cancer groups.
One of the objectives of the CAM-Cancer project is to produce a set of documents which describe the methodology that has been used to create the information presented on this web site.
CAM summary manual (PDF) [link]
This document contains the guidelines and methods for the whole production and editorial process. The methodology for peer reviewing the quality of CAM summaries is also included.