Integrative and Behavioral Approaches to the Treatment of Cancer-Related Neuropathic Pain
Cassileth BR, Keefe FJ.
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, USA.
Integrative oncology is the synthesis of mainstream cancer care and evidence-based complementary therapies. Complementary strategies include massage therapies, acupuncture, fitness, and mind-body techniques, which take advantage of the reciprocal relationship between the mind and body. Neuropathic pain--and pain more generally--is part of a complex process involving the whole physical and psychosocial being, therefore requiring an integrative management approach. Several studies have demonstrated, for example, that social context plays an important role in the perception of pain and that a patient's coping strategies can influence the persistence of pain. In this article, we briefly describe research illustrating the promise of integrative approaches for the treatment of cancer-related neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain or sensory dysfunction is a chronic, often debilitating condition that affects an increasing number of cancer patients. ... The advantage of complementary approaches such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and mind–body therapies such as meditation and self-hypnosis is that they are inexpensive, safe, noninvasive, and absent of side effects, in contrast to pharmaceuticals administered for pain management. Evidence for the efficacy of these approaches continues to accumulate. Furthermore, these techniques should be especially welcome in light of current and pending health care realities, especially increasing costs and the decreasing availability of physicians.