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Fall 2007, Vol. 2 Issue 2

CAM Information


Taking the Pulse of Stakeholders

Striving to stay connected to the ever-growing field of cancer CAM, OCCAM periodically likes to take the pulse of its audience by polling the opinions of its stakeholders. In the past, methods of receiving input from cancer researchers and CAM practitioners have included surveys and focus groups. During the spring, OCCAM added a new method of gathering input, the public comment forum.

The public comment forum allows responders to volunteer to provide open-ended feedback to statements posted by the host of the forum. OCCAM used the public comment forum to gather input on two different topics. One public comment session sought input on the necessity and utility of collecting nationally representative data on CAM usage by United States (U.S.) cancer patients, while the other sought assistance in identifying factors associated with successful and unsuccessful collaborations between cancer researchers and CAM practitioners.

The two public comment sessions ran concurrently for sixty days from May 1, 2007, thru June 30, 2007. During this timeframe, dozens of unique responders provided OCCAM with valuable information to both public comment sessions. Opinions received regarding the utility and need of nationally representative CAM use among U.S. cancer patients will add to the ongoing dialogue within OCCAM on this topic. Comments collected from statements focused on collaborations between cancer researchers and CAM practitioners helped to shape the agenda and discussion topics for the October 22-23, 2007, OCCAM hosted conference Cancer Researchers & CAM Practitioners: Fostering Collaborations; Advancing the Science (http://cam.cancer.gov//news_occamconferences.html)

OCCAM Director Attends Patient-Physician Dialogue Conference

In May 2007, OCCAM Director Dr. Jeffrey D. White presented at the 13th International Society for Biological Cancer Therapy conference, held in Heidelberg, Germany. Focusing on the communication between cancer patients who use CAM techniques and their physicians, the three-day conference provided participants, both patients and physicians, an opportunity to learn how to interact more efficiently with one another.

At the conference, Dr. White represented NCI as he spoke about OCCAM’s role at NCI, as well as the office’s structure, mission, past and current cancer CAM research projects, accomplishments, and online resources. In addition, other presentations looked at motivation and hope during illness, nutrition, lifestyle change, and stress control and prevention. There were also interactive forums, including a session in which patients asked physicians questions and then another session in which the roles were reversed.

“The main goal of May 2007’s conference was to reduce the area of conflict between orthodox medicine and a holistic-biological approach to medicine, as well as to encourage dialogue between doctors and patients. The conference lectures and seminars reflected the human being as a unity of mind, body, and spirit,” said Dr. Gyoergy Irmey, medical director for the Society for Biological Cancer Therapy, an organization consisting of approximately 19,000 patients, physicians, and scientists dedicated to the education and research of complementary medicine.

Invited Speaker Series Booklet Released

Due to the popularity of the Invited Speaker Series summaries, OCCAM has released a new publication Invited Speaker Series: 2002-2005, a compilation of the summaries and slides from all four of the lectures in the series. The lecture series, an initiative created to present the latest evidence-based cancer CAM data to the NIH community, began in January 2002 and commenced in May 2005.

Each of the following lecture’s materials was originally printed in individual publications:

  • Acupuncture Research: Examples of the State of the Science from Bench to Bedside
  • Melatonin, Chronobiology & Cancer
  • The State of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in United Kingdom Cancer Care: Advances in Research, Practice and Delivery
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cancer: The Road to China

The new publication combines each of the individual presentations into one booklet, chronicling the series. Copies of Invited Speaker Series: 2002-2005 can be ordered by calling the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.   

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