Integrative Oncology in Supportive Cancer Care in Israel

Ilanit Shalom-Sharabi, Moshe Frenkel, Opher Caspi, Gil Bar-Sela, Martine Toledano, Noah Samuels, Elad Schiff, Eran Ben-Arye*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Integrative oncology (IO) services provide complementary/integrative medicine (CIM) therapies to patients as part of their supportive cancer care. In this study, we examine and compare the structural, operational, financial and academic/research-related aspects of IO services in Israeli oncology centers. Methods: The medical directors of seven Israeli IO programs completed questionnaires which explored the objectives and organizational features of their service within the context of supportive cancer care. Results: All participating IO services addressed patient-reported concerns related to quality of life and function, within the context of conventional supportive cancer care. The centers shared similar characteristics regarding the procedure of referral to their service and emphasized research and teaching initiatives within an academic framework, as part of their clinical practice. A number of obstacles to integration were identified, primarily those related to financial considerations, such as the need for patients to carry the cost of the CIM treatments. Conclusions: IO services situated within conventional oncology departments in Israel share a number of characteristics, as well as obstacles to their incorporation into standard care. All participating centers described both clinical and academic activities, including research initiatives and the promotion of CIM in an academic setting. Further research is needed in order to better understand the place of CIM in the oncology setting and prioritize the allocation of resources in order to advance the inclusion of CIM in standard supportive cancer care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)697-706
Number of pages10
JournalIntegrative Cancer Therapies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Israel
  • cancer care
  • complementary medicine
  • integrative oncology
  • supportive care


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