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 fund research on all aspects of cancer from its causes to prevention and treatment.
We are committed to producing high quality information for people affected by cancer. As well as looking at the information on this website you can call our nurse freephone helpline on 0808 800 4040. They are available from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Or you can send them a question online.
Cancer Chat is our online forum where you can share experiences.
The MHRA regulates medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK. This includes herbal products.
They have information about:
- the safety of herbal medicines including what consumers need to know
- advice and guidance about taking specific herbs
- which Ayurvedic medicines might contain harmful substances
Telephone: 020 3080 6000
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.
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.
PO Box 428
Bristol BS9 0FB
Phone: 020 3327 2720
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
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.
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 is a national charity that supports women during or after their breast cancer treatment. Breast Cancer Haven provides a free tailored package of emotional, physical and practical support. They offer advice on practical things like:
- money and work
- how to combat stress, exhaustion and nausea
- healthy eating and exercise
They offer people diagnosed with breast cancer the chance to talk about their concerns and worries regarding treatment and its impact.
or fill out their online form
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.
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: 0333 325 2505
One of the largest professional associations for reiki in the UK. Offers support and guidance to reiki professionals and the public. Has a searchable database of reiki practitioners.
UK Reiki Federation
9 Barnfield Close
Telephone: 0203 745 9746
There are a number of organisations that acupuncturists can join. These are listed here with details of how you can contact them.
Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine
(formerly Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital)
60 Great Ormond St
London WC1N 3HR
Tel: 020 7713 9437
For physiotherapists who use acupuncture as part of their treatment:
Phone: 01733 390007
For nurses, doctors and physiotherapists who use acupuncture:
94 Crescent Road, Walton, Liverpool,
Tel: 07792 553429
The FHT is the leading professional association for complementary therapists. They have a register of therapists who are qualified, insured, and who follow the FHT strict Code of Conduct and Professional Practice.
18 Shakespeare Business Centre
Contact via online form
The professional body for practitioners of Chinese herbs in the UK (often combined with acupuncture).
Only qualified and professionally insured practitioners are eligible and accepted for membership. They have a register of members.
50 Canbury Park Road
Kingston Upon Thames
Tel: 0208 457 2560
International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists
82 Ashby Road
Phone: 01455 637987 (9.00am–3:00pm Mon – Fri)
Their website has information about:
- finding an aromatherapist
- aromatherapists who meet national standards for training
- education and standards necessary for a qualified aromatherapist
The IFA is a charity aiming to preserve public health and well being through knowledge, practice and expertise in aromatherapy. It gives information about aromatherapy to the general public.
IFA Head Office
146 South Ealing Road
Tel: 0208 567 2243
Art therapy organisations
The British Association of Art Therapists (BAAT) is the professional organisation for art therapists in the UK. It has its own Code of Ethics of Professional Practice, 20 regional groups, a European section and an international section. It keeps a comprehensive directory of qualified art therapists in the UK.
24–27 White Lion Street
London N1 9PD
Phone: 020 7686 4216
Ayurvedic medicine organisations
The Association regulates and maintains a list of Ayurvedic practitioners and therapists. All therapists have professional indemnity insurance and abide by the APA Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct.
The website has helpful information and explains the difference between practitioners and therapists.
Telephone: 01273 257077
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.
This journal includes reports on complementary and alternative therapies that are of interest or are being researched.
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.
International organisations and sites
International Society for Complementary Medicine Research (ISCMR)
The ISCMR is an international professional, multidisciplinary, non profit scientific organisation. It is a place where complementary practitioners can share knowledge and collaborate with each other and carry out research.
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 (NCI).
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.
NCCIH 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