Complementary therapies for children with cancer

This information was written by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG).

It is natural to want to try and help your child in any way you can. Many people use complementary treatments to help maintain their health.

People with cancer may use them to manage side effects and improve their sense of well-being. If you’re interested in your child using a complementary or alternative treatment, it’s important to discuss it with your child (if they’re old enough to understand) and with your child’s doctor first. Some treatment interacts with standard treatment your child may be receiving and could be harmful.

Health and activities during treatment

While having treatment, your child should be able to continue with many of their usual activities if they feel able to. But it's important to be aware of some basic precautions. The hospital staff will give you guidance on anything your child should or shouldn’t do, or anything you need to know related to your child’s treatment.

The CCLG can send you a booklet called keeping active during and after treatment. It gives practical advice about sport and exercise, both during and after treatment.

While your child is having cancer treatment, you should avoid giving them any other drugs or medicines without first discussing them with the doctors. This includes any complementary or alternative treatments. While your child is having treatment they should not have any vaccinations or immunisations unless recommended by your principal treatment centre.

Children's cancer information from CCLG

This information about children’s cancer was written by the Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG). It has been reviewed and edited by their publications committee, which includes medical experts from all fields of children’s cancer and care.

Back to Treating children's cancer

Alternative treatments

Alternative treatments are unproven therapies that aim to treat cancer. They may cause problems when used with or without conventional treatments.