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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 7

of 'Complementary and alternative therapies for cancer'

The use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy.
Swarup AB, Barrett W, Jazieh AR
Am J Clin Oncol. 2006;29(5):468.
OBJECTIVE: Use of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) is widespread among patients with chronic diseases including cancer. The purpose of our study was to examine the pattern of alternative medicine use in patients undergoing radiation treatment of cancer.
METHODS AND MATERIALS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among cancer patients treated with radiation therapy from July 2003 through July 2005 at the University of Cincinnati. We defined CAM as the use of dietary supplements, massage therapy, prayer, acupuncture, chiropractic, and other novel therapies undertaken after their diagnosis with cancer.
RESULTS: There were 152 patients that participated in the study. Their median age was 59 (range, 21-85), 82 (54%) were males, 108 (69%) were Caucasian. Out of 152 patients, 104 (68%) patients were users of CAM. The most common CAM modality reported was prayer 85 (82%) and use of dietary supplements 84 (80%). The majority of users were female and well-educated. Among CAM users 60 (58%) had discussed its use with their physician. Level of education, employment status and income showed a significant correlation with the use of CAM.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that the use of complementary alternative medicine among cancer patients receiving radiation therapy is frequent. Given the potential risks with some CAM therapies, physicians should actively ask patients whether they use CAM and provide appropriate counseling.
Division of General Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.