Complementary medicine oncology research in the Middle-East: Shifting from traditional to integrative cancer care

Eran Ben-Arye, Efraim Lev, Elad Schiff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the Middle-East is rooted in historical and traditional schools of medicine and is frequently used by patients with cancer. There is limited data on the extent of CAM research in Middle-Eastern countries regarding cancer care and potential benefits and risks of CAM modalities. Methodology: In this study, we searched the Medline database for studies in CAM and cancer care published during the years 2000-2010 and referenced by authors affiliated with Middle-Eastern academic institutions. Results: We located 116 articles by authors active in 12 countries. Research themes included CAM use in cancer care, aspects of doctor-patient communication in cancer care, studies of CAM education for health care providers, ethics and regulation, and CAM safety and quality assurance. Seventy-eight articles examined specific CAM modalities that include herbal medicine, Anthroposophic medicine, dietary and nutritional therapies, mind-body medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, yoga, and Shiatsu. Fifty-nine articles focused on various aspects of herbal medicine such as ethno-botanical surveys and reviews (7 articles), in vitro studies (33), animal studies (8), and clinical studies (11). Conclusions: The Middle East is a fertile arena for CAM research in cancer care. Collaborative research can significantly enrich the quality and impact of such research, based on sharing cultural and traditional knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Integrative Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Complementary alternative medicine
  • Integrative medicine
  • Islamic medicine
  • Middle-East

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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