The Group has been involved in two COSA Council approved projects aiming to promote awareness of the emerging evidence-based, multidisciplinary field of complementary and integrative oncology.

Position statement on the use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients

A multidisciplinary national working party chaired by Dr Lesley Braun (Monash University) developed a position statement for health professionals treating cancer patients who choose to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The guiding questions for the position statement were as follows:

  • What approach should a conventional health care provider take in the case of a patient who has decided to use a non-medical therapy as an alternative to medical cancer treatment and seeks the involvement of a conventional health care provider in this process?
  • What approach should be taken by a conventional health care provider in the case of a patient who has decided to use a non-medical therapy to complement medical cancer treatment and seeks the involvement of a conventional health care provider in this process in the case of therapies:
    • which are unlikely to do harm but for which there is evidence of potential benefit
    • for which the evidence either for or against the treatment is equivocal
    • for which there is no available scientific evidence indicating it may be of benefit or present potential harm
    • which are likely to do harm
  • What are the moral and legal responsibilities of a conventional health care provider when faced with these issues in a medical setting?

The final draft has been approved and is available here.

National Research Survey

A national online survey of COSA members was conducted in order to gain a snap shot of recent and current (2012 – 2015) Australian research investigating the application of complementary and integrative therapies in oncology settings. The survey results may help to identify research gaps and provide an impetus for funding bodies to offer greater opportunities in the field on complementary and integrative therapies in oncology.

The Group reported on the results of the research audit at the 2013 COSA Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in Adelaide.