Find organisations, support groups, books, websites and other resources about complementary and alternative therapies.
The websites listed here give detailed information about complementary therapies and cancer. They might use more technical terms, longer pages and fewer images than this site.
Always ask your doctors and nurses about whether any complementary or alternative cancer therapy you are thinking of using might interact with your other treatments.
General support organisations
Cancer Research UK is the largest cancer research organisation in the world outside the USA. We are the European leader in the development of new anti cancer drugs. We fund research on all aspects of the disease from its causes, to treatment and prevention, education and psychological support for patients.
We are also committed to producing high quality information for people affected by cancer, health professionals and the general public. We do this through the About Cancer pages on our website.
Cancer Chat is our free online discussion forum for people affected by cancer. It is a safe space to talk to other people in similar situations, and find information and support.
If you have a question about cancer, you can contact our team of specialist cancer information nurses. Call free on 0808 800 4040, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. To talk in your preferred language, ask for our interpreting service. Or you can send us a question online.
We also have news, health awareness leaflets and other resources on cancer.
Complementary and alternative therapy organisations in the UK
These organisations and websites deal specifically with complementary therapies and cancer care. Or they include complementary therapies in their range of activities and interests.
This centre provides complementary care, using the Bristol Approach, to people with cancer, and their loved ones. It is staffed by doctors, nurses and therapists working in complementary medicine. The staff provide information about complementary treatments, alternative diets, holistic medicine, counselling and relaxation.
Chapel Pill Lane
Phone: 01275 370 100 (switchboard)
Helpline: 0845 123 23 10 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.00pm)
The British Complementary Medicine Association represents over 20,000 complementary therapists. Their therapies include acupuncture, yoga and homeopathy. All members are fully trained and subject to the BCMA’s code of conduct, and complaints and disciplinary procedures.
Their website has a searchable database of therapists and therapy associations. It's a good place to start if you are looking for a complementary therapist in your area.
P.O. Box 5122
Phone: 0845 345 5977
The BHMA was founded by doctors and students with an interest in holistic health care. They believe that healthcare should also include a person's spiritual and emotional wellbeing. The BHMA doesn't list or recommend individual therapies or therapists.
CNHC is the UK regulator for complementary healthcare practitioners. It protects the public by giving them access to a list of practitioners who have met national standards of competence and practice. Registered practitioners can use the CNHC quality mark on certificates and publicity materials. Most NHS services only use CNHC registered practitioners.
46-48 East Smithfield
Phone: 0203 668 0406
An independent, UK health regulator that keeps a register of qualified therapists. It sets standards of training, performance and conduct for health professionals, including music therapists, art therapists and drama therapists.
184 Kennington Park Road
Phone: 0300 500 6184
This charity provides information about specific complementary therapies. Enclose a self addressed enveloped and two loose first class stamps when you write to them. Clearly state which information you are looking for or the type of complementary therapist you are trying to find.
32–36 Loman Street
London SE1 0EH
Phone: 0207 922 7980
Fax: 0207 922 7981
The RCCM collects and reviews research into the effectiveness of complementary therapies and alternative medicines. The Complementary and Alternative Medicine Evidence Online (CAMEOL) database reviews specific therapies for various conditions, including cancer. You can find the evidence on their website.
Faculty of Health & Social Care
London South Bank University
103 Borough Road
London SE1 0AA
This website aims to provide reliable information on complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) relating to cancer. The target audience is health professionals, but the information is understandable to anyone. It can help patients and professionals to make decisions about whether to use these medicines.
Breast Cancer Haven offers free support, information and complementary therapies to anyone affected by breast cancer. It has drop in centres in London, Hereford and Leeds. They offer a care programme designed to help women with breast cancer feel better and develop a healthier lifestyle.
People unable to get to a Haven centre can use the Haven at Home multi media package.
The London Haven
Phone: 020 7384 0099 (gives information about all Haven Centres in the UK)
Maggie’s is a national charity with centres across the UK. They offer care and support to people affected by cancer. Each centre is beside an NHS cancer hospital and is run by specialist staff.
You can join a support group, take part in weekly sessions like relaxation and stress management, or learn about nutrition and health. You can also visit just to have a cup of tea and a friendly chat.
10 Dumbarton Road
Phone: 0300 123 1801
The Fountain Centre is a charity for cancer patients, their families and carers. It offers advice, counselling and complementary therapies to cancer patients from Surrey, Sussex and Hampshire. It is at the St Luke’s cancer unit at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford.
St Luke’s Cancer Centre
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust Foundation
Phone: 01483 406618
The Therapy Directory puts people in touch with a professional who is qualified and suitable for their needs. These practitioners focus on alternative and complementary therapies.
Phone: 0844 8030 245
International organisations and sites
International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR)
The ISCMR is an international professional, multidisciplinary, non profit scientific organisation. It is devoted to fostering complementary and integrative medicine research. It provides a platform to exchange knowledge and information to increase international communication and collaboration.
This US site has information about complementary and alternative therapies. It provides detailed information about herbs and supplements, as well as latest news on various therapies.
Information particularly about CAM use in cancer, from the US National Cancer Institute.
This US site has information about complementary therapies in cancer care. It offers information to patients and health professionals to help them decide how to best combine conventional cancer treatments with complementary therapies.
NCCAM is a US government funded institution that supports scientific research into complementary and alternative therapies.
It also provides training for clinical researchers, and supports schemes to integrate proven therapies into medical training for doctors and nurses.
The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre is a leading cancer hospital and research centre in New York. Its Integrative Medicine service was founded in 1999. It carries out research into the effectiveness of complementary therapies for cancer.
The website has a searchable database of herbs, vitamins and plants. It lists side effects, drug interactions, clinical information and clinical trials.
Books about complementary therapy
There are various books about complementary and alternative therapies. Many of these are specific to cancer. But they aren’t all reliable. Be wary of books that claim an alternative therapy can cure cancer.
The books listed here give reliable and evidence-based information about complementary and alternative therapies.
Professor Edzard Ernst
Oxford University Press, USA, 2008
This book is for hospital doctors, GPs, nurses, medical students and other healthcare professionals. It gives evidence based information about complementary and alternative medicine to help them advise people with cancer.
It discusses many issues in an accessible way. So it will also interest people who are considering complementary or alternative therapy.
This book helps people with cancer to make informed decisions about using complementary therapies to manage physical and emotional symptoms and promote general wellbeing. It explains the risks of using unproven therapies instead of conventional treatments.
Barrie R Cassileth
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, USA
World Scientific Publishing Co.Ltd, 2011
This guide from the American Cancer Society gives detailed information about more than 200 complementary and alternative therapies. It is based on the best medical evidence available.
American Cancer Society, 2007
Booklets and factsheets
Several reputable cancer organisations produce general information leaflets or booklets about using complementary therapies or alternative cancer therapies.
'I've got nothing to lose by trying it'
This guide was produced with support from Cancer Research UK. It aims to help you weigh up claims about cures and treatments for medical conditions.
It shares things you can do, from getting involved in clinical trials to finding good evidence based information.
Cancer and complementary therapies (also on CD)
Breast Cancer Care
Medical journals about complementary therapies
Although these journals are generally aimed at health professionals working in the complementary therapy field, you may find it useful to know what is available.
General medical journals also publish literature about research into complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
This journal is a valuable resource for people seeking information about the use of complementary therapies. It is published 4 times a year.
This journal includes reports on complementary and alternative therapies that are of interest or are being researched. It is published twice a month.
This journal reports on the scientific understanding of alternative and complementary therapies.
PubMed is the database of the National Institute for Health in America. It has abstracts from medical journals and scientific papers. You can search the database for articles about complementary and alternative therapies.