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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 4

of 'Complementary and alternative therapies for cancer'

An assessment of the utilization of complementary and alternative medication in women with gynecologic or breast malignancies.
Navo MA, Phan J, Vaughan C, Palmer JL, Michaud L, Jones KL, Bodurka DC, Basen-Engquist K, Hortobagyi GN, Kavanagh JJ, Smith JA
J Clin Oncol. 2004;22(4):671.
PURPOSE: To describe and assess the current utilization of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) in women with a diagnosis of either gynecologic or breast cancer and evaluate their reasons for use.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This study included 250 female patients from the Multidisciplinary Breast Center and 250 patients from the Gynecologic Oncology Center of The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX). Patients were selected by having an odd-numbered medical record number, and they were contacted before their clinic visit. The goals of the study were explained, and verbal consent was obtained. Patients who agreed to participate were asked to bring a written list and the medication bottles of all over-the-counter prescriptions and CAMs with them to clinic. In clinic, the investigator obtained a written informed consent and administered the survey. All patients and surveys were assessable.
RESULTS: The most frequently used herbal products and megavitamins/minerals were identified from the patient medication histories. Overall, we found the proportion of patients using CAM to be 48% (95% CI, 44% to 53%; 241 of 500 patients). CAM use was related to patients' educational status: 62% had postgraduate degrees, 50% had college degrees, 56% had some college, and 33% had a high school education or less. Also, among patients using CAMs, only 53.5% had spoken to a healthcare provider regarding CAM therapy.
CONCLUSION: The use of CAM is common among women with cancer. Studies need to be conducted to establish if there are any potential drug interactions and/or therapeutic benefit of CAM products. Moreover, there is a need to educate patients and healthcare providers on appropriate and safe use of CAM products.
College of Pharmacy, University of Houston, TX, USA.