Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Creeping quackery: “Integrative” cancer care spreading in NIH-supported centers

Enlarge/ Various homeopathic remedies.Wikidudeman
More than..

Enlarge/ Various homeopathic remedies.Wikidudeman

More than 60 percent of NIH-supported comprehensive cancer centers in the US include “integrative medicine” in their services and patient information. And in recent years, the centers’ inclusion of dubious treatments has only grown, according to a new article in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs.

For instance, the number of centers providing patients with information on “healing touch”—a type of “energy medicine”—increased nearly 30 percent between 2009 and 2016. Cancer patients at 26 of the 45 government-designated comprehensive centers around the country can now learn about that hocus-pocus along with actual cancer therapies. Likewise, inclusion of Ayurveda—a pseudoscience involving herbal, mineral, and metal treatments—increased by 10 percent in the same timeframe. Now, 18 of 45 cancer centers supported by the National Cancer Institute provide patients with information on that sorcery.

While the data may alarm evidence-based physicians and health experts, an accompanying article on the semantics of “integrative medicine” may be of more concern. In it, advocates of “integrative medicine” try to define what “integrative medicine” is, exactly. But rather than a clear definition, they create a vague and broad one that includes “mind and body practices.” It involves everything from the “medicalized” components of a healthy lifestyle (such as simple exercise) to what can charitably be described as magic.

Such a large range of treatments—some reasonable, some not—may add legitimacy to the idea of integrative medicine while concealing quackery. As critic David Gorski, a blogger and oncology professor and surgeon at Wayne State University, puts it:

Basically, if you’ve ever had a massage or done art or music while being treated for cancer, by definition you’ve used integrative medicine. If you’ve ever meditated or prayed while being treated for cancer, you’ve used integrative medicine. If you’ve done Tai Chi, yoga, or Qi Gong (or even just exercise) while being treated for cancer, you’ve used integrative medicine.

But, as Dr. Gorski continues, advocates of integrative medicine aren’t just into harmless endeavors like art, meditation, and exercise. They’re also into outright unproven and disproven mumbo-jumbo, including homeopathy.

The senior author on both the cancer center article and the semantics article is Dr. Jun Mao, a family physician and chief of the Integrative Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering. He’s also the past president of the Society for Integrative Oncology (SIO), which embraces naturopaths and, by extension, homeopaths. The SIO also advocates for the inclusion of “alternative” or “complementary” treatments in cancer care, alongside conventional methods.

An easier pill to swallow

Dr. Mao and his colleagues argue that as conventional treatments get better and better at keeping cancer patients alive, there’s more need for “natural” approaches to improve quality of life—particularly when dealing with the side effects of potent cancer drugs. This is an “unmet” need, they write.

As Gorski points out, this is a common argument made by peddlers of unproven notions and potions. Essentially, the argument is “that, to treat the ‘whole patient’ and to address ‘unmet needs,’ doctors must embrace the quackery in integrative medicine,” he writes.

While neither of the articles co-authored by Mao even mention the terms “naturopathy” or “homeopathy,” the SIO considers naturopaths on equal footing with trained and licensed physicians. Naturopaths can be members of SIO, and several past presidents of the organization have been licensed naturopaths. Naturopaths rely on a variety of “alternative” medicines and debunked pseudosciences while eschewing evidence-based medicine. Many naturopaths oppose vaccination, for instance. They also embrace homeopathy, which is based on the erroneous idea that “like cures like.” That is, heavy dilutions of a substance that creates symptoms similar to a particular disease can cure that disease. Most homeopathic remedies are simply water, which has led many to consider homeopaths charlatans over the years.

To earn a license in naturopathy from the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE), naturopaths must be trained in homeopathy and pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX), which tests knowledge of homeopathic remedies.

Yet, a reader might not pick up on the connection between homeopathy and naturopathy from the SIO’s description and discussion of “integrative oncology.” This, Dr. Gorski speculates, is on purpose. He writes:

I really can’t help but suspect that, in its effort to persuade medical academia that integrative oncology is rigorously science- and evidence-based, whether intentionally or not, the SIO leadership is focusing all its attention on promoting the evidence-based modalities that have been “rebranded” as “integrative,” such as diet, exercise, and the like, and the patient-support modalities that have been medicalized into “integrative medicine,” such as massage, art therapy, music therapy, and the like. Pay no attention to the quackery that integrative oncology and medicine lump together with the diet, exercise, and the like, the SIO seems to be saying by the absence of focus on naturopathy (and the homeopathy that nearly all naturopaths practice).

Whether on purpose or not, the pitch for integrative medicine seems to be working. As Mao and colleagues report in their article of NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers, more doctors seem to be including alternative therapies.

Meanwhile, Mao and his colleagues have their sights set on expanding integrative medicine’s use further. The authors conclude:

As these centers lead the way in cancer research and clinical innovation, we need to ensure that integrative medicine can be cohesively incorporated into the continuum of cancer treatment and survivorship care using a financially sustainable structure. In addition, evidence-informed integrative medicine needs to expand beyond the walls of academic medical centers into community cancer centers and clinics to benefit patients from diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

JNCI Monographs, 2017. DOI: 10.1093/jncimonographs/lgx004.

JNCI Monographs, 2017. DOI: 10.1093/jncimonographs/lgx012 (About DOIs).

Original Article

[contf] [contfnew]

Ars Technica

[contfnewc] [contfnewc]



  1. Lovie

    August 24, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    When someone writes an paragraph he/she keeps the image of a user in his/her brain that how a
    user can be aware of it. Therefore that’s why this article is great.

  2. Justin

    August 26, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    Good post. I absolutely love this site. Stick with it!

  3. Fidel

    August 26, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    Hello there, You have done an excellent job.
    I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I’m confident they will be benefited from this site.

  4. Reynaldo

    August 26, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    Hi there, I found your web site by the use of Google while
    searching for a comparable subject, your site got here up, it appears good.
    I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.
    Hi there, simply become alert to your blog via Google, and located
    that it is truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels.
    I will be grateful in the event you continue this
    in future. Numerous other folks will be benefited out
    of your writing. Cheers!

  5. gen z recruitment

    August 26, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    I’d like to find out more? I’d care to find out some additional information.

  6. Homer

    August 26, 2021 at 6:58 pm

    Amazing! Its actually awesome article, I have got much clear idea on the topic of from
    this article.

  7. Tabatha

    August 26, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before
    but after looking at a few of the articles I realized it’s new to
    me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

  8. Liliana

    August 26, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Safari.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem resolved soon. Cheers

  9. betting politics

    August 26, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    I have been surfing on-line more than 3 hours today, but I by no means discovered any interesting
    article like yours. It is beautiful value sufficient for me.
    Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made excellent content as you did,
    the web can be much more useful than ever before.

  10. Rex

    August 26, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    When someone writes an paragraph he/she keeps the thought
    of a user in his/her brain that how a user can understand it.

    Thus that’s why this post is great. Thanks!

  11. live casino

    August 26, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your feed and look forward to in search of extra of
    your great post. Additionally, I’ve shared your web site in my social

  12. betting politics

    August 26, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.

    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However,
    how can we communicate?

  13. Arlette

    August 26, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    I am really thankful to the holder of this web page who has shared this fantastic paragraph at
    at this place.

  14. Angeline

    August 26, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and
    wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.
    In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and
    I hope you write again very soon!

  15. betting politics

    August 26, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for info about this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve
    came upon so far. But, what concerning the bottom line?
    Are you certain about the source?

  16. live casino

    August 26, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Greetings, I think your web site may be having web browser
    compatibility issues. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues.
    I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
    Apart from that, fantastic blog!

  17. live casino

    August 26, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    Awesome blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go
    for a paid option? There are so many choices
    out there that I’m completely overwhelmed ..

    Any ideas? Appreciate it!

  18. Sonya

    August 27, 2021 at 12:31 am

    Thanks for your marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you’re
    a great author.I will always bookmark your blog and will eventually come back very soon. I
    want to encourage you continue your great job, have
    a nice evening!

  19. online casino live dealer blackjack

    August 27, 2021 at 12:54 am

    Hey There. I discovered your blog the use of msn. This
    is a very neatly written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of
    your helpful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly return.

  20. Edison

    August 27, 2021 at 1:17 am

    If some one needs expert view about blogging and site-building afterward
    i advise him/her to pay a visit this weblog, Keep up
    the nice job.

  21. betting politics

    August 27, 2021 at 1:31 am

    This excellent website really has all of the information and facts
    I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  22. live casino

    August 27, 2021 at 1:37 am

    My partner and I stumbled over here different web page and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you.
    Look forward to looking into your web page yet again.

  23. instagram takipçi satın al

    August 27, 2021 at 1:53 am

    Wow, wonderful blog layout! How long have
    you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy.
    The overall look of your site is excellent, let alone the content!

  24. Rosaura

    August 27, 2021 at 2:07 am

    I am sure this article has touched all the internet users, its really really fastidious piece of writing on building
    up new blog.

  25. betting politics

    August 27, 2021 at 2:54 am

    I am really grateful to the owner of this site who has shared this fantastic piece of writing at here.

  26. live casino

    August 27, 2021 at 3:24 am

    Hey there! I understand this is somewhat off-topic however I
    needed to ask. Does operating a well-established blog
    like yours require a large amount of work? I am completely new to running a blog but I do write in my journal on a
    daily basis. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my own experience and views online.
    Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for new aspiring bloggers.

  27. Elma

    August 27, 2021 at 4:29 am

    I’m very pleased to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful
    read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and I have you
    book marked to check out new information on your web site.

  28. Max Ketosis Fuel Review

    August 27, 2021 at 4:53 am

    Sweet site, super style and design, rattling clean and utilise

    My blog :: Max Ketosis Fuel Review

  29. Frank

    August 27, 2021 at 5:23 am

    Hey very nice blog!

  30. betting politics

    August 27, 2021 at 6:33 am

    Does your site have a contact page? I’m having trouble locating
    it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail. I’ve got some ideas for your blog
    you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and
    I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

  31. Chi

    August 27, 2021 at 6:58 am

    Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.

  32. live casino

    August 27, 2021 at 7:16 am

    Hi there! Quick question that’s completely off topic.

    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My blog looks weird when browsing from my iphone.
    I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this problem.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. Cheers!

  33. Ulrike

    August 27, 2021 at 7:36 am

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!

    Extremely helpful info particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info much.
    I was looking for this certain information for
    a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  34. Olive

    August 27, 2021 at 7:59 am

    Very descriptive blog, I liked that bit. Will there be a
    part 2?

  35. Thorsten

    August 27, 2021 at 8:12 am

    Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style
    seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  36. Johnie

    August 27, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  37. live casino

    August 27, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Hi there to every one, the contents existing at this web page are actually remarkable for people experience,
    well, keep up the nice work fellows.


    August 27, 2021 at 12:11 pm

    Its wonderful as your other articles :D, appreciate it for posting.

    My homepage Tundra Breeze Air Conditioner Reviews (

  39. WifiLift Wifi Extender

    August 27, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    I’m extremely inspired along with your writing skills and
    also with the format for your weblog. Is this a paid subject or did you modify it your
    self? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to peer
    a great weblog like this one these days.

    Here is my page – WifiLift Wifi Extender


    August 27, 2021 at 1:07 pm

    Wow! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!

    Here is my web page :: Keto Complete Pills (

  41. Hempizor CBD Review

    August 27, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    Hey very interesting blog!

    Check out my homepage :: Hempizor CBD Review

  42. Cole

    August 27, 2021 at 2:53 pm

    Great site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find excellent writing
    like yours nowadays. I really appreciate people like you!

    Take care!!

  43. Joleen

    August 27, 2021 at 4:35 pm

    Very soon this site will be famous among all blog people, due to it’s pleasant articles

  44. Trim Tone Review

    August 27, 2021 at 5:19 pm

    Why viewers still use to read news papers when in this technological world everything is accessible on net?

    Feel free to surf to my site – Trim Tone Review

  45. bandar slot terpercaya

    August 27, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    Piece of writing writing is also a fun, if you know then you can write if not
    it is complex to write.

  46. Hector

    August 27, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    Hey! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new to me.
    Nonetheless, I’m definitely delighted I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and
    checking back frequently!

  47. Spore Mens Vitality Mix Review

    August 27, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    magnificent put up, very informative. I ponder why
    the other experts of this sector don’t understand
    this. You must proceed your writing. I am confident, you have a
    huge readers’ base already!

    My web page – Spore Mens Vitality Mix Review

  48. Donnell

    August 27, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate to this fantastic blog!
    I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your
    RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will
    talk about this blog with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

  49. yupoo iphone clone

    August 27, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    I’m gone to tell my little brother, that he should also pay a visit this blog on regular basis to get updated from newest news update.

  50. daftar slot

    August 27, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    That is a very good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very precise information… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read article!


    August 27, 2021 at 11:02 pm

    Deference to author, some great entropy.

    Here is my web page: Rapid Fire Keto Reviews (

  52. Max Keto Fuel Review

    August 27, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    Awesome blog you have here but I was wondering
    if you knew of any message boards that cover the same topics talked about here?
    I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get opinions from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Cheers!

    my web page; Max Keto Fuel Review

  53. politics bet

    August 27, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    Thank you, I have just been looking for info approximately this
    topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I’ve discovered till now.
    However, what about the bottom line? Are you positive concerning the supply?

  54. Zelma

    August 28, 2021 at 12:15 am

    bookmarked!!, I really like your website!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.