Background: There is a need for high-level evidence on the effects of CAM for cancer. 36% of European cancer patients have used CAM, and CAM is increasing integrated in oncology without a firm evidence base. This presentation provides a meta review of effects of manipulative and body-based complementary medicine for cancer. Methods: Pubmed, the Cochrane library, AMED and Science citation index were systematically searched for reviews of quantitative and qualitative studies on effects of CAM for cancer or cancer related systems published 2000-2007. All reviews on manipulative and body-based CAM were assessed according to the SIGN hierarchy of evidence. Results: Five reviews were identified: two at evidence level A, one at level B and two at level D. The reviews covered massage, and massage combined with aromatherapy. All reviews conclude on positive effects of massage for cancer related stress and anxiety, although level-A reviews conclude cautiously. Tentative conclusions on antidepressant and pain reductive effects are offered. There is no evidence that aromatherapy enhances the effects of massage. One review recommends massage as a safe complement to conventional treatment, while another review warns against the use of massage for fragile patients. Conclusion: There is fairly good evidence that massage can help to reduce stress and anxiety in cancer patients if it is provided by well qualified practitioners. Massage can safely be combined with conventional cancer treatment, if patients are not too fragile. There is a need of reviews on other manipulative and body-based forms of CAM for cancer.
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1st European Congress for Integrative Medicine, 2008