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Article in Journal ()

Use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients: a European survey

Citation
Molassiotis A, Fernandez-Ortega P, Pud D, Ozden G, Scott J, Panteli V, Margulies A, Browall M, Magri M, Selvekerova S, Madsen E, Milovics L, Bruyns I, Gudmundsdottir G, Hummerston S, Ahmad AM, Platin N, Kearney N & Patiraki E (2005) Use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients: a European survey, Annals of Oncology, 16 (4), pp. 655-663.

Abstract
Background: The aim of this study was to explore the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cancer patients across a number of European countries. Methods: A descriptive survey design was developed. Fourteen countries participated in the study and data was collected through a descriptive questionnaire from 956 patients. Results: Data suggest that CAM is popular among cancer patients with 35.9% using some form of CAM (range among countries 14.8% to 73.1%). A heterogeneous group of 58 therapies were identified as being used. Herbal medicines and remedies were the most commonly used CAM therapies, together with homeopathy, vitamins/minerals, medicinal teas, spiritual therapies and relaxation techniques. Herbal medicine use tripled from use before diagnosis to use since diagnosis with cancer. Multivariate analysis suggested that the profile of the CAM user was that of younger people, female and with higher educational level. The source of information was mainly from friends/family and the media, while physicians and nurses played a small part in providing CAM-related information. The majority used CAM to increase the body’s ability to fight cancer or improve physical and emotional well-being, and many seemed to have benefited from using CAM (even though the benefits were not necessarily related to the initial reason for using CAM). Some 4.4% of patients, however, reported side-effects, mostly transient. Conclusions: It is imperative that health professionals explore the use of CAM with their cancer patients, educate them about potentially beneficial therapies in light of the limited available evidence of effectiveness, and work towards an integrated model of health-care provision.

Keywords
alternative medicine; complementary medicine; Europe; herbs; homeopathy; spiritual healing; vitamins

Subject headings
Cancer Alternative treatment; Complementary Thearapies; Spiritual healing; Homeopathy

StatusPublished
AuthorsMolassiotis Alexander, Fernandez-Ortega Paz, Pud Dorit, Ozden Gulten, Scott Julia, Panteli Vassiliki, Margulies Anita, Browall Maria, Magri Miriam, Selvekerova Sarka, Madsen Elin, Milovics Ljiljana, Bruyns Ingrid, Gudmundsdottir Gudbjorg, Hummerston Sandra, Ahmad Aftab M-A, Platin Nurgun, Kearney Nora, Patiraki Elisabeth
Publication date04/2005
Publication date online02/02/2005
Date accepted by journal15/11/2004
PublisherOxford University Press / European Society for Medical Oncology
ISSN 0923-7534
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Annals of Oncology: Volume 16, Issue 4 (2005-04)

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