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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 17

of 'Complementary and alternative therapies for cancer'

Use of complementary/alternative medicine by breast cancer survivors in Ontario: prevalence and perceptions.
Boon H, Stewart M, Kennard MA, Gray R, Sawka C, Brown JB, McWilliam C, Gavin A, Baron RA, Aaron D, Haines-Kamka T
J Clin Oncol. 2000;18(13):2515.
PURPOSE: To determine the prevalence of use of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) by breast cancer survivors in Ontario, Canada, and to compare the characteristics of CAM users and CAM nonusers.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of Ontario women diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 or 1995.
RESULTS: The response rate was 76.3%. Overall, 66.7% of the respondents reported using CAM, most often in an attempt to boost the immune system. CAM practitioners (most commonly chiropractors, herbalists, acupuncturists, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, and/or naturopathic practitioners) were visited by 39.4% of the respondents. In addition, 62.0% reported use of CAM products (most frequently vitamins/minerals, herbal medicines, green tea, special foods, and essiac). Almost one half of the respondents informed their physicians of their use of CAM. Multiple logistic regression analysis determined that support group attendance was the only factor significantlyassociated with CAM use.
CONCLUSION: CAM use is common among Canadian breast cancer survivors, many of whom are discussing CAM therapy options with their physicians. Knowledge of CAM therapies is necessary for physicians and other health care practitioners to help patients make informed choices. CAM use may play a role in the positive benefits associated with support group attendance.
Centre for Studies in Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. heather.boon@utoronto.ca