Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (890993)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Attitudes Toward Antiretroviral Therapy and Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Chinese HIV-Infected Patients 
HIV has become a significant health issue in China, and an increasing number of HIV-infected individuals are in need of care. Current reports confirm more than 230,000 cases of HIV infection and estimate that approximately 700,000 people are now infected with HIV, although approximately 70% of these individuals do not realize they are infected (Gill & Okie, 2007).
China's national antiretroviral therapy (ART) program, Four Frees and One Care, began in 2003, and ART treatment is now widely available in China (Zhang et al., 2007). Under this program, the following services are available to eligible citizens: (a) free ART for all AIDS patients in financial difficulty, (b) free schooling for AIDS orphans and children of AIDS patients, (c) free counseling and prevention measures to prevent mother-to-child-transmission for HIV-infected pregnant women, and (d) free HIV antibody testing and counseling, provided by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC). “One Care” means providing care to AIDS patients and their families (Zhang, Pan, Yu, Wen, & Zhao, 2005). Prior to 2003, only a few people in China had access to ART, and clinical expertise in HIV medicine was limited to the major centers in a few eastern cities (Zhang et al., 2007). When ART is the dominant method of treatment, however, its use is complicated by the presence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which has remained a substitute and supplement for conventional HIV therapy (Hsiao et al., 2003), even after ART became available (Josephs, Fleishman, Gaist, & Gebo, 2007).
CAM is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine (National Institutes of Health, 2008). Commonly, CAM includes a wide range of practices that do not fit within the dominant allopathic model of health care (Bishop, Yardley, & Lewith, 2007), including but not limited to herbalism, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture, and diet-based therapies (Bratman & Steven, 1997). TCM has been used in Chinese society for more than 5,000 years. In the TCM approach, the body is recognized and treated as a whole entity, and diseases are identified as conditions caused by internal imbalances. The role of doctors is to identify imbalances and then correct them; the body is then expected to be able to heal itself (Tsao, Dobalian, Myers, & Zeltzer, 2005). The balancing factors of the yin and yang, or of the cold and hot forces, govern health and modulate some Chinese eating and pain management practices (Wong-Kim & Merighi, 2007). The integration of ART and CAM therefore has important implications in health outcomes, especially in China where the use of CAM is widespread.
Three types of treatment systems are practiced in Chinese society: (a) allopathic Western medicine offered by health care professionals in clinics and hospitals; (b) Buyao, which is over-the-counter popular medicine and includes teas, soups, tablets, herbal preparations, and tonics, which are similar to herb supplements used in some Western countries; and (c) TCM or Zhongyi, provided by trained Chinese herbalists, which incorporates a wide range of theories, therapies, and practices, some of which are medicinal, some physical, and some supernatural (Ma et al., 2008). Many Chinese people use all three types of treatment simultaneously.
In the West, the use of CAM is widespread among HIV-infected individuals. From 1980 to 1996, 27% to 100% of HIV-infected patients used CAM (Ernst, 1997), and the rates of CAM remained steady when compared with the era before highly active ART (Josephs et al., 2007). Some people living with HIV (PLWH) used CAM to replace the prescribed ART treatment regimen (Owen-Smith, Diclemente, & Wingood, 2007), while others used it as a complement to conventional HIV therapy (Hsiao et al., 2003).
A variety of factors influence an individual's decision to use CAM. In Western countries, women who were more educated and who had lived longer with HIV were more likely to use CAM (Owen-Smith et al., 2007). Pain was a strong predictor of CAM use, and increased pain over time was associated with the use of unlicensed or illicit underground drugs that held a potential for harm (Tsao et al., 2005). Overall, the most common source of information about CAM was from patients' friends (Wiwanitkit, 2003). Generally, CAM users perceived complementary therapies as useful, although there is no evidence to suggest that these treatments are particularly effective. CAM is generally perceived as “safe,” despite evidence of harmful interactions between some herbal medicines and medical treatments and the evidence of associated risks (Ma et al., 2007). Specifically, recent studies have shown that herbal medicines can interact with ART in such a way as to contribute to treatment failure (Ma et al., 2007). Physicians around the world, however, do not routinely discuss CAM therapies with PLWH, despite knowing that CAM therapies are widely used (Ma et al., 2008; Hsiao et al., 2003).
Studies have examined PLWH attitudes toward ART and CAM in different countries (Littlewood & Vanable, 2008). One study described nurses in Uganda using a traditional, nurse-prepared ointment on PLWH as an alternative medication for skin problems because they “know it works” (Hardon et al., 2008). CAM has also been used to treat the psychological and physical effects of illness and the side effects of ART (Kaufman & Gregory, 2007). Studies show, however, that many PLWH do not report CAM use to their medical providers (Hsiao et al., 2003). To date, there has been little research on CAM use in the Chinese PLWH population.
This qualitative study explored issues related to positive and negative attitudes toward both ART and CAM in Chinese PLWH in Beijing, China. The study was part of a larger project examining behavioral interventions meant to enhance ART adherence in PLWH in China (Chen et al., 2007; Starks et al., 2008). Semi-structured, in-depth, interviews were used to explore PLWHA attitudes, experiences, and perceptions about ART and CAM.
PMCID: PMC2684986  PMID: 19427598
2.  The use of complementary and alternative medicines among patients with locally advanced breast cancer – a descriptive study 
BMC Cancer  2006;6:39.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is common among cancer patients. This paper reviews the use of CAM in a series of patients with locally advanced breast cancer (LABC).
Women with LABC attending a specialist clinic at a single Canadian cancer centre were identified and approached. Participants completed a self-administered survey regarding CAM usage, beliefs associated with CAM usage, views of their risks of developing recurrent cancer and of dying of breast cancer. Responses were scored and compared between CAM users and non-users.
Thirty-six patients were approached, 32 completed the questionnaire (response rate 89%). Forty-seven percent of LABC patients were identified as CAM users. CAM users were more likely to be younger, married, in a higher socioeconomic class and of Asian ethnicity than non-users. CAM users were likely to use multiple modalities simultaneously (median 4) with vitamins being the most popular (60%). Motivation for CAM therapy was described as, "assisting their body to heal" (75%), to 'boost the immune system' (56%) and to "give a feeling of control with respect to their treatment" (56%). CAM therapy was used concurrently with conventional treatment in 88% of cases, however, 12% of patients felt that CAM could replace their conventional therapy. Psychological evaluation suggests CAM users perceived their risk of dying of breast cancer was similar to that of the non-Cam group (33% vs. 35%), however the CAM group had less severe anxiety and depression.
The motivation, objectives and benefits of CAM therapy in a selected population of women with LABC are similar to those reported for women diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. CAM users display less anxiety and depression and are less likely to believe they will die of their breast cancer. However the actual benefit to overall and disease free survival has yet to be demonstrated, as well as the possible interactions with conventional therapy. Consequently more research is needed in this ever-growing field.
PMCID: PMC1475605  PMID: 16504038
3.  Complementary and alternative medicine use by visitors to rural Japanese family medicine clinics: results from the international complementary and alternative medicine survey 
There is growing interest in the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) throughout the world, however previous research done in Japan has focused primarily on CAM use in major cities. The purpose of this study was to develop and distribute a Japanese version of the International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q) to assess the use of CAM among people who visit rural Japanese family medicine clinics.
Using a Japanese version of the International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q), a cross-sectional survey was conducted in three rural family medicine clinics. All patients and those accompanying patients who met inclusion criteria were eligible to participate. Data were entered into SPSS Statistics and analyzed for use by age, gender, and location.
Of the 519 respondents who participated in the project, 415 participants reported CAM use in the past 12 months (80.0%). When prayer is excluded, the prevalence of CAM use drops to 77.3% in the past year, or 403 respondents. The most common forms of CAM used by respondents were pain relief pads (n = 170, 32.8%), herbal medicines/supplements (n = 167, 32.2%), and massage by self or family (n = 166, 32.0%). Female respondents, individuals with higher levels of education, and those with poorer overall health status were more likely to use CAM than respondents without these characteristics. Only 22.8% of CAM therapies used were reported to physicians by survey participants.
These data indicate that CAM use in rural Japan is common. The results are consistent with previous studies that show that Japanese individuals are more interested in forms of CAM such as pain relief pads and massage, than in mind-body forms of CAM like relaxation and meditation. Due to the high utilization of certain CAM practices, and given that most CAM users do not disclose their CAM use to their doctors, we conclude that physicians in rural Japan would benefit by asking about CAM use during patient interviews, and by familiarizing themselves with the potential benefits and risks of commonly used CAM modalities.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-360) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4192731  PMID: 25256591
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), Integrative medicine; Primary care, Family medicine; Japan, International Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q)
4.  Characteristics of users and implications for the use of complementary and alternative medicine in Ghanaian cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy: a cross- sectional study 
There is widespread use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Ghana, driven by cultural consideration and paradigm to disease causation. Whether there is concurrent use of conventional medicine and CAM in cancer patients is unknown. This study investigates the prevalence, pattern and predictors of CAM use in cancer patients. Overlapping toxicity, sources of information, and whether users inform their doctor about CAM use is examined.
Cross-sectional study using a questionnaire administered to cancer patients, who were receiving radiotherapy and or chemotherapy or had recently completed treatment at a single institution was used.
Ninety eight patients participated in the study with a mean age of 55.5 (18–89), made up of 51% females. Married individuals formed 56% of the respondents, whilst 49% had either secondary or tertiary education. Head and neck cancer patients were 15.3%, breast (21.4%), abdomen/pelvic cancers constituted (52%).Seventy seven (78.6%) patients received radiotherapy only, 16.3% received radiation and chemotherapy and 5.3% had chemotherapy only.
Ninety five patients were diagnosed of cancer within the past 24 months,73.5% were CAM users as follows; massage(66.3%), herbal(59.2%), mega vitamins(55.1%), Chinese medicine(53.1%),and prayer(42.9%). Sixty eight percent were treated with curative intent. Overlapping toxicity was reported. Majority (83.3%) of users had not informed their doctor about CAM use.
On univariate analysis, female (p=0.004) and palliative patients, p=0.032 were more likely to be CAM users. Multivariate analysis identified female (p<0.01), as significant for use, whilst head and neck site was significant for non use (p<0.028). Young, married and highly educated individuals are more likely to use CAM.
Friends and Media are the main sources of information on CAM. There was increase in CAM use after the diagnosis of cancer mainly for Chinese Medicine and vitamins.
There is high CAM usage among Cancer patients, comparable to use in the general population, there is concurrent use of CAM and conventional medicine with reported overlapping toxicity but without informing Oncologist about use. Women and palliative patients are more likely to use CAM. Doctor patient communication on herbal-radiotherapy and drug treatment interaction needs to be strengthened. Standardization and regulation of CAM use is paramount.
PMCID: PMC3565863  PMID: 23331546
Complementary; Alternative; Medicine; Radiotherapy; Chemotherapy; Cancer; Traditional; User-characteristics; Toxicity
5.  A survey of training and practice patterns of massage therapists in two US states 
Despite the growing popularity of therapeutic massage in the US, little is known about the training or practice characteristics of massage therapists. The objective of this study was to describe these characteristics.
As part of a study of random samples of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners, we interviewed 226 massage therapists licensed in Connecticut and Washington state by telephone in 1998 and 1999 (85% of those contacted) and then asked a sample of them to record information on 20 consecutive visits to their practices (total of 2005 consecutive visits).
Most massage therapists were women (85%), white (95%), and had completed some continuing education training (79% in Connecticut and 52% in Washington). They treated a limited number of conditions, most commonly musculoskeletal (59% and 63%) (especially back, neck, and shoulder problems), wellness care (20% and 19%), and psychological complaints (9% and 6%) (especially anxiety and depression). Practitioners commonly used one or more assessment techniques (67% and 74%) and gave a massage emphasizing Swedish (81% and 77%), deep tissue (63% and 65%), and trigger/pressure point techniques (52% and 46%). Self-care recommendations, including increasing water intake, body awareness, and specific forms of movement, were made as part of more than 80% of visits. Although most patients self-referred to massage, more than one-quarter were receiving concomitant care for the same problem from a physician. Massage therapists rarely communicated with these physicians.
This study provides new information about licensed massage therapists that should be useful to physicians and other healthcare providers interested in learning about massage therapy in order to advise their patients about this popular CAM therapy.
PMCID: PMC1182347  PMID: 15955245
6.  The use of complementary and alternative medicine by women experiencing menopausal symptoms in Bologna 
BMC Women's Health  2010;10:7.
The present study describes Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use amongst Italian women transitioning through menopause. Popularity and perceived effectiveness of CAM treatments, use of pharmaceutical medications, characteristics of CAM users, the extent of communication between medical practitioners and women about their use of CAM, and variables associated with CAM use were also investigated.
Women, aged 45-65 years attending Family Planning and Women's Health clinics or Menopause Centres in Bologna were invited to complete a voluntary, anonymous, self administered questionnaire, which was used in a previous study in Sydney. The questionnaire was translated and adapted for use amongst Italian women. Data on general demographic and health characteristics, menopause related symptoms and the use of CAM and pharmaceutical treatments during the previous 12 months were collected.
In total, 1,203 women completed the survey, of which 1,106 were included in the final sample. Of women who had symptoms linked with menopause and/or used remedies to alleviate symptoms, 33.5% reported to have used CAM. Among these, 23.5% had consulted one or more practitioners and 24% had used at least one CAM product.
Approximately nine out of ten respondents reported medical practitioners did not seek information about their use of CAM; while one third of CAM users did not disclose the use of CAM to their physician. Nevertheless, medical practitioners were the most popular source of information. From the multivariate analysis, variables associated with CAM use were: professional employment, time since the last natural menses, use of CAM for conditions other than menopause, and presence of some severe symptoms.
The relatively high prevalence of CAM use by women transitioning through menopause should encourage research initiatives into determining which CAM treatments are the safest and effective. The increasing and likely concomitant use of CAM with HRT and other pharmaceuticals underlines the need for the implementation of a surveillance system to report and monitor possible drug-herb adverse events. The discrepancy between women preferring to seek information about CAM from their medical doctor and the difficulties noted in communication between doctor and patient should encourage educational initiatives on CAM by health-care agencies and institutions.
PMCID: PMC2846842  PMID: 20187964
7.  Preventive Screening of Women Who Use Complementary and Alternative Medicine Providers 
Journal of Women's Health  2009;18(8):1133-1143.
Many women use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Although CAM use has been associated with reductions in conventionally recommended pediatric preventive care (e.g., vaccination), little is known about associations between CAM use and receipt of recommended preventive screening in women.
Using Washington State insurance data from 2000 to 2003, the authors generated clustered logistic regression models, examining associations between provider-based CAM use and receipt of screening tests for Chlamydia trachomatis, breast cancer, and cervical cancer: (1) contrasting women who used CAM providers only (alternative use) and women who used both conventional and CAM providers (complementary use) with women who used conventional care only and (2) testing associations between screening and use of four specific CAM provider types—naturopathic physicians, chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists.
Both alternative and complementary use was associated with reduced Chlamydia screening. Cancer screening increased with complementary use but decreased with alternative use of CAM. Use of naturopathy was associated with decreased mammography, whereas all four CAM therapies were positively associated with Papanicolaou testing.
When used in conjunction with conventional care, use of provider-based CAM may signal high interest in various types of health-promoting behavior, including cancer screening. Negative associations between CAM and Chlamydia screening and between naturopathy and mammography require additional study. Interventions with CAM providers and their patients, aimed at improving rates of conventionally recommended screening, might encourage greater focus on preventive care, an important task when CAM providers serve as women's only contact with the healthcare system.
PMCID: PMC2825724  PMID: 19630554
8.  Patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use amongst outpatients in Tokyo, Japan 
The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been increasing rapidly throughout the world during the past decade. The use of CAM in the general Japanese population has been previously reported to be as high as 76%. This study aims to investigate the patterns of CAM use, perceived effectiveness and disclosure of CAM use to orthodox medical practitioners amongst patients attending typical primary and secondary care clinics in a busy district general hospital in Tokyo, Japan.
The authors analysed data collected during March 2002 on patients attending general outpatient clinics held at Shiseikai Daini Hospital in Tokyo, Japan. Data was collected by use of self-completed questionnaires distributed to patients in the outpatient clinics waiting area. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square tests of independence.
515 adults were approached to participate in this study and the overall response rate was 96% (n = 496). 50% of the patients were using or have used at least 1 CAM therapy within the last 12 months. The 5 most commonly used therapies were massage (n = 106, 43%), vitamins (n = 85, 35%), health foods including dietary supplements (n = 56, 23%), acupressure (n = 51, 21%) and kampo (n = 46, 19%). The majority of CAM users (75%, n = 145) found their CAM treatment to be effective (95% CI = 68–81%). Patients who were more likely to use CAM were females (p = 0.003) and those with a high number of medical conditions (p = < 0.0001). Only a small proportion of patients reported their CAM use to their physician (42%, n = 74). There was no significant difference in CAM use for the different age groups (p = 0.85), education level (p = 0.30) and financial status (p = 0.82).
Patterns of CAM usage in the sample surveyed was high (50%). Despite this high prevalence rate and presumed acceptance of CAM in Japan, the reporting of CAM use by patients to their physicians was low (42%). It is therefore important that physicians are aware of the possibility that their patients may be using CAM and also increase their knowledge and understanding of these treatments.
PMCID: PMC2375857  PMID: 18433476
9.  Patient-Centered Research 
Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) can be defined as medical practices not taught widely at US medical schools or generally available at US hospitals. National studies suggest that between 30–40% of the general US population use CAM. These users tend to be more educated, have higher incomes, and are more likely to be between the ages of 30–49. However, to date, no study has documented the use of CAM among the homebound population, patients who are usually elderly, debilitated, and have less access to medical care. We studied the use of alternative therapies in homebound patients of the Mount Sinai Visiting Doctors Program serving the inner city of New York.
Eligibility for the study was limited to patients who are in the Visiting Doctors Program, and whose mini-mental status exam score was greater than 20 or who were deemed competent to complete the survey by their primary care provider. Participant's CAM use was assessed by a survey administered by an interviewer at the patient's home.
Forty-nine consecutive, eligible patients were interviewed and a survey completed. Among the respondents, 84% were women, the mean age was 78.6 (STD = 14.1). Respondents were 51% Caucasian, 27% African-American, 14% Hispanic and 8% other. On rating their own health, 69% rated it as poor to fair, 22% rated it as good, and 8% rated it as very good to excellent. Sixty-nine percent of the respondents reported using one or more CAM in the past 12 months. Commonly used CAM included: vitamins/minerals (33%) [excluding MVI, calcium], spiritual healing (27%), and herbal remedies (20%). Spiritual healing included prayer and faith healing. The most common herbal remedies were garlic, ginger, and chamomile tea. Among CAM users, their main sources of information about CAM came from their own physicians (32%), family/friends/co-workers (18%), and newspaper/radio/TV (18%).
The use of CAM in this elderly, debilitated, homebound population was significantly higher than that of the general population. It is especially important for physicians who care for homebound patients to be aware of and discuss the use of CAM. Clinicians can then better understand any potential associated health consequences and help their patients make informed decisions about their CAM use.
PMCID: PMC1495736
10.  CAM Use in Pediatric Neurology: An Exploration of Concurrent Use with Conventional Medicine 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94078.
Previous studies have found that up to 60% of children with neurologic conditions have tried complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
To assess the use of CAM among patients presenting to neurology clinics at two academic centers in Canada.
A survey instrument was developed to inquire about use of CAM products and therapies, including reasons for use, perceived helpfulness, and concurrent use with conventional medicine, and administered to patients or their parents/guardians at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa.
Overall CAM use at the Stollery was 78%, compared to 48% at CHEO. The most common CAM products used were multi-vitamins (84%), vitamin C (37%), homeopathic remedies (24%), and fish oil/omega 3 s (22%). The most common CAM practices used were massage (47%), chiropractic (37%), faith healing (18%), aromatherapy (16%), homeopathy (16%), and relaxation (16%). Many patients used CAM products at the same time as conventional medicine but just over half (57%) discussed this concurrent use with their physician.
CAM use is common in pediatric neurology patients and most respondents felt that it was helpful, with few or no harms associated. However, this use is often undisclosed, increasing possibility of interactions with conventional drugs. We urge clinicians to inquire about CAM use during routine history taking at every patient visit. Parents would clearly like more information about CAM from their specialty clinics; such information would be easier to share if more primary data were available about the safety and effectiveness of commonly used therapies.
PMCID: PMC3988088  PMID: 24736474
11.  Complementary and alternative medicine use among women at increased genetic risk of breast and ovarian cancer 
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is well documented among breast cancer patients and survivors, but little evidence is available to describe rates and patterns of use among women at increased genetic risk of breast cancer.
A pre-visit telephone interview was conducted to ascertain CAM use among the BRCA mutation carriers enrolled in a high-risk breast cancer screening study. Participants were asked to report on their use of thirteen therapies within the year prior to enrollment into the study. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between various factors and CAM use in this population.
Among the 164 BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation-positive (BRCA+) women in this analysis, 78% reported CAM use, with prayer and lifestyle diet being the two most commonly reported modalities. Many subjects used multiple CAM therapies, with 34% reporting use of three or more modalities. The most commonly used modalities were mind-body therapies and biologically-based practices, 61.6% and 51.8%, respectively. High-risk women were more likely to use CAM if they were older, more educated, more worried about ovarian cancer risk, or had a previous cancer diagnosis.
This study suggests that the prevalence of CAM use is high among BRCA mutation carriers, with frequency of use comparable to that of breast cancer patients and survivors. Given the high prevalence of CAM use in our subjects, especially biologically-based therapies including herbal supplements, whose safety and efficacy in relation to cancer risk are unknown, our study suggests that future research is necessary to clarify these risks, and that it is important for providers to inquire about and to discuss the pros and cons of CAM use with their BRCA+ patients.
PMCID: PMC2391138  PMID: 18447953
12.  Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Survey of Its Use in Pediatric Oncology 
Background. The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is high among children and youths with chronic illnesses, including cancer. The objective of this study was to assess prevalence and patterns of CAM use among pediatric oncology outpatients in two academic clinics in Canada. Procedure. A survey was developed to ask patients (or their parents/guardians) presenting to oncology clinics at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa about current or previous use of CAM products and practices. Results. Of the 137 families approached, 129 completed the survey. Overall CAM use was 60.5% and was not significantly different between the two hospitals. The most commonly reported reason for not using CAM was lack of knowledge about it. The most common CAM products ever used were multivitamins (86.5%), vitamin C (43.2%), cold remedies (28.4%), teething remedies (27.5%), and calcium (23.0%). The most common CAM practices ever used were faith healing (51.0%), massage (46.8%), chiropractic (27.7%), and relaxation (25.5%). Many patients (40.8%) used CAM products at the same time as prescription drugs. Conclusion. CAM use was high among patients at two academic pediatric oncology clinics. Although most respondents felt that their CAM use was helpful, many were not discussing it with their physicians.
PMCID: PMC3836302  PMID: 24307910
13.  Classification of CAM Use and its Correlates in Early Stage Breast Cancer Patients 
Integrative cancer therapies  2011;10(2):138-147.
Self-reported use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has been shown to increase following a cancer diagnosis, and breast cancer survivors are the heaviest users among cancer survivors. The aim of this study was to determine whether the prevalence estimate of CAM use varied according to classification of CAM. We used a comprehensive system to classify CAM users and test differences in demographic, lifestyle, quality of life, and cancer characteristics among them.
Study Design and Methods
Participants were 2562 breast cancer survivors participating in the Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) Study, aged 28-74 years. A structured telephone interview assessed CAM use, questioning about specific CAM practices, and whether use was related to cancer. We examined CAM use in relation to demographics, health behaviors, and quality of life.
Approximately 80% of the women used CAM for general purposes but only 50% reported CAM use for cancer purposes. Visual imagery, spiritual healing, and meditation were the most frequently used practices for cancer purposes. CAM use, defined as consulting a CAM practitioner and regular use, was significantly related to younger age, higher education, increased fruit & vegetable intake, and lower body mass index (p < .05). CAM users who had seen a practitioner were also more likely to report poor physical and mental health than non-CAM users (p < .05). CAM use was not associated with changes in physical and mental health between study baseline and 1-year follow-up.
This study addressed important differences in the classification of CAM use among breast cancer survivors. Future studies need to further test the potential benefits and risks associated with CAM use.
PMCID: PMC3126886  PMID: 21382963
14.  Complementary and alternative medicine use among general surgery, hepatobiliary surgery and surgical oncology patients 
Canadian Journal of Surgery  2009;52(5):422-426.
The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is becoming more common, particularly among cancer patients. We sought to define the frequency of CAM use among general surgery, hepatobiliary and surgical oncology patients and to define some of the determinants of CAM use in patients with benign and malignant disease.
We asked all patients attending the clinics of 3 hepatobiliary/surgical oncology surgeons from 2002 to 2005 to voluntarily respond on first and subsequent visits to a questionnaire related to the use of CAM. We randomly selected patients for review.
We reviewed a total of 490 surveys from 357 patients. Overall CAM use was 27%. There was significantly more CAM use among cancer (34%) versus noncancer patients (21%; p = 0.008), and the use of CAM was more common in patients with unresectable cancer (51%) than resectable cancer (22%; p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in use between men and women. There did not appear to be a change in CAM use with progression of cancer. The most common CAM was herbs or supplements (58% of all users), which were most frequently used by patients with malignant disease. Among the 27 herbs reported to be ingested, 10 are associated with bleeding and hepatotoxicity, as described in the literature.
Prospective studies evaluating surgical outcomes related to CAM use are needed.
PMCID: PMC2769094  PMID: 19865579
15.  Use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria 
The use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) by cancer patients is very common and varies between populations. The referenced English literature has no local study from Africa on this subject. This study was conducted to define the prevalence, pattern of use, and factors influencing the use of CAM by cancer patients at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu (UNTH-E), Nigeria
Face-to-face interviews using semi-structured questionnaire were used to determine the use of CAM by cancer patients. All consenting cancer patients were interviewed as they presented at the core surgical units of the UNTH- E, from June 2003 to September 2005.
160 patients were interviewed; 68 (42.5%) were males and 94 (57.5%) were females. Ages ranged from 13–86 years. Breast, urogenital system, gastrointestinal system, and soft tissue cancers predominated. One hundred and four patients (65.0%) have used CAM at some time during their current cancer illness; 56 (35.0%) patients have not used any form of CAM. There were more females than males among the non-CAM users. The use of CAM was not affected by age, marital status, level of education, religious affiliation, or socioeconomic status. The most frequently used CAMs were herbs (51.9%), faith/prayer healing (49.4%), aloe vera (23.1%), Forever Living Products (16.3%), medicinal tea (14.4%), and Blackstone (12.5%). Over 23% of those who used CAM were satisfied, but 68.3% were disappointed. Most users (67.3%) did not see any benefit from the CAM, but 25% could describe some specific benefits. More than 21% of users reported various unwanted effects. While 86.5% of CAM users will use orthodox medicine instead of CAM in the future, 9.6% will use the two together to help each other. Most users (79.8%) will not repeat CAM or recommend its use for cancer. The majority of patients (55.8%) did not mention their use of CAM to their doctors – mostly because the doctor did not ask.
CAM use is common among cancer patients in Nigeria. Most users do not obtain the expected benefits, and adverse events are not uncommon. Every clinician in the field of oncology should ask his/her patients about the use of CAM; this knowledge will enable them to better counsel the patients.
PMCID: PMC2034592  PMID: 17850665
16.  The use of complementary and alternative medicine products in preceding two days among Finnish parents - a population survey 
The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) has been extensively studied globally among adult and paediatric populations. Parents, as a group, had not been studied to assess their knowledge and attitude to CAM and general medicine use. This study is necessary since parents' attitude to medicine use is known to influence their child's attitude to medicine use later in life. We therefore aim to assess the extent and types of CAM use among Finnish parents, and to determine the factors that promote the CAM use. Also, we aim to determine parents' attitude to general medicine use.
Children less than 12 years old, as of spring 2007, were identified from the database of the Finnish Population Register Centre and were selected by random sampling. The parents of these children were identified and a questionnaire was sent to them. Only the parent who regularly takes care of the child's medicine was requested to fill the questionnaire. Cross-tabulations and Chi-square test were used to determine the associations between categorical variables. CAMs were defined as natural products that are not registered as medicines, such as homeopathic preparations, dietary food supplements, and traditional medicinal products.
The response rate of the survey was 67% (n = 4032). The use of CAM was 31% in the preceding two days. The most commonly used CAM products were vitamins and minerals, followed by fish oils and fatty acids. Prescription and OTC medicines were used concomitantly with CAM by one-third of the parents. CAM was frequently used by parents over 30 years (33%), female parents (32%), highly educated parents (35%), and parents with high monthly net income (3000-3999 euros, 34%). The users of CAM had more negative attitudes towards medicines than non-users of CAM.
Our findings are in accordance with those of previous studies that women over 30 years of age with a high education and income typically use CAMs. Finnish parents seem to use CAMs as complementary rather than alternative to medicines. Health care professionals should take into consideration both the concomitant use as well as the negative attitudes among CAM users in encounters with the parents.
PMCID: PMC3234193  PMID: 22053865
17.  Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A survey in Turkish Gastroenterology Patients 
The study examined complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) usage by patients attending a Turkish gastroenterology outpatient clinic.
The survey was conducted on 216 patients presenting with gastrointestinal problems during their first visit to the clinic using a 31 item, self-report questionnaire between May and October 2005. Data included information on patient demographics and their gastrointestinal symptoms, as well as items to identify CAM use and patient satisfaction with these therapies.
Seventy-nine patients (36.6%) reported using one or more forms of CAM. The most commonly used therapy was herbal therapy, usually taken as a tea or infusion. These were used by 27 people (29%) in this subgroup. Common indicators for their use were epigastric pain, constipation, bloating and dyspepsia or indigestion. CAM use among upper GI patients was marginally higher than lower GI patients (41.8% versus 41.2%), but the highest usage was amongst patients with liver disease where 53.8% reported using one or more CAM therapy. About half of the patients learned about CAM from their relatives or friends, with more women than men using the therapies (p < 0.05). Clinical characteristics such as diagnosis, duration of symptoms and prior surgical intervention did not differ between users and non-users of CAM therapies. Multivariate analysis showed that being female and higher educational status were positively associated with CAM usage (p < 0.05).
CAM usage in our sample of gastrointestinal patients was lower than that described in other countries and other chronic disease groups. This could be due to their low perceived efficacy, or the relatively transient duration of symptoms experienced by the sample. Healthcare professionals need however, to be aware of CAM usage in order to educate patients appropriately about possible adverse effects or drug-interactions.
PMCID: PMC2773235  PMID: 19857249
18.  Perceptions and Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in American Samoa: A Survey of Health Care Providers 
Hawaii Medical Journal  2010;69(6 Suppl 3):21-26.
American Samoa health care providers' use and perceptions of common complementary and alternative treatments, with a focus on traditional Samoan healing for women diagnosed with breast cancer or cervical cancer, was investigated to inform the development of the first locally produced women's cancer prevention radio drama and the first cancer patient navigator program in the US Territory.
A 10-item self-administered survey was completed by a total of 47 health care providers employed at the Lyndon B. Johnson Tropical Medical Center and the American Samoa Department of Health Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program.
Comprehensive health care is limited in American Samoa, especially cancer treatment. Dissatisfaction or disconnection with Western medicine leads some patients to seek complementary or alternative health care from traditional Samoan healers who provide massage and herbal remedies. Health care providers in American Samoa use and recommend many complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) popular in the United States. The most common CAM recommended to patients is exercise (81%), diet modification (81%), prayer (36%), massage (36%), support group participation (26%), and relaxation techniques (19%). Traditional Samoan healing methods are unique CAM that 19% of mainstream health care providers have used, and 17% have recommended these techniques to patients. Most survey respondents believe traditional Samoan healing methods have a harmful effect on patient quality of life and 72% have advised a patient to discontinue using this type of CAM. While most providers feel that the majority of American Samoan patients use traditional healing methods to complement Western healthcare, 55% are aware of a breast cancer or cervical cancer patient utilizing these techniques as an alternative to hospital treatment. A provider's ethnicity, gender, age and years of professional experience appear to be indicators of different CAM method endorsement and patient consultations concerning CAM use.
CAM use is likely to continue in American Samoa as long as health care deficiencies exist. Most American Samoa health care professionals accept common CAM in the United States, but local providers are more likely to endorse traditional healing methods than their mainland counterparts. Little is known of the impact different CAM have on quality of life, especially amongst cancer patients. The majority of American Samoa health care providers request more information about traditional healing which would facilitate more comprehensive medical documentation and patient care.
PMCID: PMC3123143  PMID: 20539997
19.  Factors that Influence Practitioners’ Interpretations of Evidence from Alternative Medicine Trials: A Factorial Vignette Experiment Embedded in a National Survey 
Medical care  2010;48(4):341-348.
Clinical trial evidence in controversial areas such as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) must be approached with an open mind.
To determine what factors may influence practitioners’ interpretation of evidence from CAM trials.
Research Design
In a mailed survey of 2400 U.S. CAM and conventional medicine practitioners we included two hypothetical factorial vignettes of positive and negative research results for CAM clinical trials. Vignettes contained randomly varied journal (Annals of Internal Medicine vs. Journal of CAM) and CAM treatment type (acupuncture, massage, glucosamine, meditation, and reiki). Response items also included randomly varied patient circumstances -- chronic refractory symptoms and the patient requesting CAM.
All practitioners rated the effectiveness and their willingness to recommend the therapy for a described patient. We used logistic regression to determine the independent influence of the four factors on respondents’ effectiveness and legitimacy judgments.
1561 practitioners responded (65%). Relative to Reiki, conventional medicine practitioners were most willing to recommend glucosamine (OR=3.0; 95% CI [1.6–5.4]), than massage (1.9 [1.1–3.3]), acupuncture (1.3 [0.8–2.2]), and meditation (1.2 [0.7–2.0]). CAM practitioners rated acupuncture as effective more than other CAM therapies (OR=5.8 [2.6–12.8]) compared to Reiki), and were more willing to recommend acupuncture (OR=12.3 [4.8–31.8]). When presented evidence of inefficacy, CAM practitioners were most willing to recommend acupuncture relative to other CAM therapies (OR=15.5 [9.0–26.9]).
Practitioners’ judgments about CAM trial evidence depend on the type of treatments reported. Confirmation bias may play a role in the clinical translation of new evidence from clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC2962778  PMID: 20355265
20.  Longitudinal Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among Older Adults with Radiographic Knee Osteoarthritis 
Clinical therapeutics  2013;35(11):10.1016/j.clinthera.2013.09.022.
Osteoarthritis (OA) accounts for more mobility issues in older adults than any other disease. OA is a chronic and often painful disease for which there is no cure. Cross-sectional studies have shown that older adults frequently use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and arthritis is the most common reason for CAM use. While previous research has profiled the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of CAM users, few have provided information on variation in CAM use over time and most only considered use of any CAM, which was often a mixture of heterogeneous therapies.
This study sought to describe the longitudinal patterns of CAM use among older adults with knee OA, and to identify correlates/predictors of different commonly-used CAM therapies.
The Osteoarthritis Initiative included 1,121 adults aged 65 years and above with radiographic tibiofemoral OA in one or both knees at baseline. Annual surveys captured current use of conventional therapies and 25 CAM modalities (grouped into 6 categories) for joint pain or arthritis at baseline and during the 4-year follow-up. We assessed longitudinal use of CAM modalities by summing the number of visits with participants reporting use of each modality. Correlates of CAM use under consideration included sociodemographic indicators, body mass index, overall measures of mental and physical wellbeing, and clinical indices of knee OA. Generalized estimation equations provided adjusted odds ratio estimates and 95% confidence intervals.
Nearly one third of older adults reported using ≥ one CAM modality for treating OA at all assessments. With the exception of glucosamine and chondroitin (18%), few were persistent users of other CAM modalities. One in five of those using NSAIDs or glucosamine/chondroitin were using them concurrently. Adjusted models showed: 1) adults aged ≥75 years were less likely to use dietary supplements than those aged between 65 and 75 years; 2) persons with more severe knee pain or stiffness reported more CAM use; 3) better knee-related physical function was correlated with more use of chiropractic/massage; 4) older adults with more comorbidities were less likely to report use of dietary supplements.
Patterns of CAM use are, to some extent, inconsistent with current guidelines for OA treatment. Evaluating the potential risks and benefits in older adults from commonly-used CAM modalities, with or without combination use of conventional analgesics, is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3880574  PMID: 24145044
complementary and alternative medicine; osteoarthritis; pain; older adults
21.  Use of complementary and alternative medicine by mid-age women with back pain: a national cross-sectional survey 
The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has increased significantly in Australia over the past decade. Back pain represents a common context for CAM use, with increasing utilisation of a wide range of therapies provided within and outside conventional medical facilities. We examine the relationship between back pain and use of CAM and conventional medicine in a national cohort of mid-aged Australian women.
Data is taken from a cross-sectional survey (n = 10492) of the mid-aged cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, surveyed in 2007. The main outcome measures were: incidence of back pain the previous 12 months, and frequency of use of conventional or CAM treatments in the previous 12 months.
Back pain was experienced by 77% (n = 8063) of the cohort in the previous twelve month period. The majority of women with back pain only consulted with a conventional care provider (51.3%), 44.2% of women with back pain consulted with both a conventional care provider and a CAM practitioner. Women with more frequent back pain were more likely to consult a CAM practitioner, as well as seek conventional care. The most commonly utilised CAM practitioners were massage therapy (26.5% of those with back pain) and chiropractic (16.1% of those with back pain). Only 1.7% of women with back pain consulted with a CAM practitioner exclusively.
Mid-aged women with back pain utilise a range of conventional and CAM treatments. Consultation with CAM practitioners or self-prescribed CAM was predominantly in addition to, rather than a replacement for, conventional care. It is important that health professionals are aware of potential multiple practitioner usage in the context of back pain and are prepared to discuss such behaviours and practices with their patients.
PMCID: PMC3493383  PMID: 22809262
Back pain; Complementary medicine; Survey
22.  Consumers' experiences and values in conventional and alternative medicine paradigms: a problem detection study (PDS) 
This study explored consumer perceptions of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and relationships with CAM and conventional medicine practitioners.
A problem detection study (PDS) was used. The qualitative component to develop the questionnaire used a CAM consumer focus group to explore conventional and CAM paradigms in healthcare. 32 key issues, seven main themes, informed the questionnaire (the quantitative PDS component - 36 statements explored using five-point Likert scales.)
Of 300 questionnaires distributed (Brisbane, Australia), 83 consumers responded. Results indicated that consumers felt empowered by using CAM and they reported positive relationships with CAM practitioners. The perception was that CAM were used most effectively as long-term therapy (63% agreement), but that conventional medicines would be the best choice for emergency treatment (81% agreement). A majority (65%) reported that doctors appeared uncomfortable about consumers' visits to CAM practitioners. Most consumers (72%) believed that relationships with and between health practitioners could be enhanced by improved communication. It was agreed that information sharing between consumers and healthcare practitioners is important, and reported that "enough" information is shared between CAM practitioners and consumers. Consumers felt comfortable discussing their medicines with pharmacists, general practitioners and CAM practitioners, but felt most comfortable with their CAM practitioners.
This PDS has emphasized the perceived importance of open communication between consumers, CAM and conventional providers, and has exposed areas where CAM consumers perceive that issues exist across the CAM and conventional medicine paradigms. There is a lot of information which is perceived as not being shared at present and there are issues of discomfort and distrust which require resolution to develop concordant relationships in healthcare. Further research should be based on optimisation of information sharing, spanning both conventional and CAM fields of healthcare, due to both the relevance of concordance principles within CAM modalities and the widespread use of CAM by consumers.
PMCID: PMC3349512  PMID: 22490367
23.  Motivations for consulting complementary and alternative medicine practitioners: A comparison of consumers from 1997–8 and 2005 
Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and especially CAM practitioners, has continued to rise in recent years. Although several motivators of CAM use have been identified, little is known about how and if the motivations for using CAM have changed over time. The purpose of the current study was to compare the reasons for consulting CAM practitioners in consumers in 1997–8 and eight years later in 2005.
Surveys were displayed in CAM and conventional medicine offices and clinics in Ontario, Canada in 1997–8 and again in 2005, and self-selected participants returned the surveys by mail.
In 1997–8, 141 CAM consumers were identified from the 199 surveys returned, and 185 CAM consumers were identified from the 239 surveys returned in 2005. Five of the six CAM motivations were more likely to be endorsed by the 2005 CAM consumers compared to the 1997–8 CAM consumers (all p's < .0001). In 1997–8 the two top reasons for using CAM were that CAM allowed them to take an active role in their health (51.8%), and because conventional medicine was ineffective for their health problem (41.8%). In 2005, the treatment of the whole person (78.3%) was the top reason for using CAM followed by taking an active role in one's health (76.5%). The 2005 consumers were less educated, had slightly more chronic health complaints, had been using CAM for longer, and were more likely to consult chiropractors, reflexologists, and therapeutic touch practitioners than the 1997–8 consumers. Otherwise, the socio-demographic and health profiles of the two groups of CAM consumers were similar, as was their use of CAM.
Compared to consumers in 1997–8, consumers in 2005 were more likely to endorse five of the six motivations for consulting CAM practitioners. A shift towards motivations focusing more on the positive aspects of CAM and less on the negative aspects of conventional medicine was also noted for the 2005 consumers. Findings suggest that CAM motivations may shift over time as public knowledge of and experience with CAM also changes.
PMCID: PMC2390516  PMID: 18442414
24.  Self-care and adherence to medication: a survey in the hypertension outpatient clinic 
Self-care practices for patients with hypertension include adherence to medication, use of blood pressure self-monitoring and use of complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) The prevalence of CAM use and blood pressure self-monitoring have not been described in a UK secondary care population of patients with hypertension and their impact on adherence to medication has not been described. Adherence to medication is important for blood pressure control, but poor adherence is common. The study aimed to determine the prevalence of self-care behaviours in patients attending a secondary care hypertension clinic.
Cross-sectional questionnaire survey. 196 patients attending a secondary care hypertension clinic in a teaching hospital serving a multiethnic population, Birmingham, UK. Main outcome measures: Prevalence of use of CAM, home monitors, adherence to anti-hypertensive medication.
CAM use in previous 12 months was reported by 66 (43.1%) respondents. CAM users did not differ statistically from non-CAM users by age, gender, marital status or education. Vitamins, prayer a dietary supplements were the most commonly used CAM. Nine (12.7%) women reported using herbal CAM compared to one man (1.2%), (p = 0.006). Ten (6.7%) respondents reported ever being asked by a doctor about CAM use. Perfect adherence to anti-hypertensive medication was reported by 26 (44.8%) CAM-users and 46 (60.5%) non-CAM users (p = 0.07). Being female and a CAM user was significantly associated with imperfect adherence to anti-hypertensive medication. Older and white British respondents were significantly more likely to report perfect adherence. Blood pressure monitors were used by 67 (43.8%) respondents, which was not associated with gender, CAM use or adherence to medication.
Hypertensive patients use a variety of self-care methods, including CAM, home blood pressure monitors, and adherence to prescribed medication. This study found the prevalence of CAM use in hypertensive patients was higher than in the UK population. It is important to acknowledge the self-care behaviour of hypertensive patients, in order to assess potential harm, and encourage effective methods of self-care.
PMCID: PMC2259297  PMID: 18261219
25.  Prayer-for-health and complementary alternative medicine use among Malaysian breast cancer patients during chemotherapy 
The inclusion of prayer-for-health (PFH) in the definition of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) has resulted in higher levels of CAM use. The objective of this study was to assess PFH and CAM use among breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
A cross-sectional study was performed at two chemotherapy providers. Patients were questioned about use of three categories of CAM, mind-body practices (MBPs), natural products (NPs) and traditional medicine (TM). PFH was also examined separately from CAM to better characterise the patterns of CAM and PFH used during chemotherapy.
A total of 546 eligible patients participated in the study; 70.7% (n = 386) reported using some form of CAM, and 29.3% (n = 160) were non-CAM users. When PFH was excluded as a CAM, fewer patients reported the use of CAM (66.1%; n = 361). The total number of patients who used MBPs decreased from 342 to 183. The most common CAM use category was NPs (82.8%), followed by MBPs (50.7%), and TM (35.7%). CAM users were more likely to have a tertiary education (OR 2.11, 95% CI 1.15–3.89 vs. primary/lower), have household incomes > RM 3,000 (≈944 USD) per month (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.40–3.84 vs. ≤RM 3,000 (≈944 USD)), and have advanced cancer (OR 1.75, 95% CI 1.18–2.59 vs. early stage cancer), compared with non-CAM users. The CAM users were less likely to have their chemotherapy on schedule (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.10–0.58 vs. chemotherapy postponed) than non-CAM users. Most MBPs were perceived to be more helpful by their users, compared with the users of NPs and TM.
CAM use was prevalent among breast cancer patients. Excluding PFH from the definition of CAM reduced the prevalence of overall CAM use. Overall, CAM use was associated with higher education levels and household incomes, advanced cancer and lower chemotherapy schedule compliance. Many patients perceived MBP to be beneficial for improving overall well-being during chemotherapy. These findings, while preliminary, clearly indicate the differences in CAM use when PFH is included in, and excluded from, the definition of CAM.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-425) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4230750  PMID: 25358688
Complementary alternative therapy; Prayer for health; Breast cancer; Chemotherapy

Results 1-25 (890993)