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.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted in order to define the prevalence, pattern, and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in breast cancer patients in northwestern Turkey.
Patients and Methods
All patients admitted to the breast center between January 2005 and January 2006 were consecutively included in the study. Demographics and clinical data of study patients were noted. A 15-item questionnaire was used to document the attitude of breast cancer patients towards CAM modalities. Primary outcomes were prevalence, pattern, and predictors of CAM. Secondary outcomes were the reasons for CAM use, the number and type of adverse events related to CAM use, and the satisfaction level of CAM users.
Nearly one third of breast cancer patients use at least one type of CAM in addition to conventional therapy. Most chose herbal medicines which they think support their general health status. Nettle (Urtica diocia/U. urens) was the most common herbal medicine that patients consume. Previous experience with CAM was the most significant factor for CAM use after breast cancer diagnosis. Being young and married as well as receiving radiotherapy were among other independent factors for using any CAM modality.
Breast cancer; Complementary medicine; Supportive care; Therapy
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.
To assess pediatricians' attitudes toward & practice of Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) including their knowledge, experience, & referral patterns for CAM therapies.
An anonymous, self-report, 27-item questionnaire was mailed nationally to fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics in July 2004.
648 of 3500 pediatricians' surveyed responded (18%).
The median age ranged from 46–59 yrs; 52% female, 81% Caucasian, 71% generalists, & 85% trained in the US. Over 96% of pediatricians' responding believed their patients were using CAM. Discussions of CAM use were initiated by the family (70%) & only 37% of pediatricians asked about CAM use as part of routine medical history. Majority (84%) said more CME courses should be offered on CAM and 71% said they would consider referring patients to CAM practitioners. Medical conditions referred for CAM included; chronic problems (headaches, pain management, asthma, backaches) (86%), diseases with no known cure (55.5%) or failure of conventional therapies (56%), behavioral problems (49%), & psychiatric disorders (47%). American born, US medical school graduates, general pediatricians, & pediatricians who ask/talk about CAM were most likely to believe their patients used CAM (P < 0.01).
Pediatricians' have a positive attitude towards CAM. Majority believe that their patients are using CAM, that asking about CAM should be part of routine medical history, would consider referring to a CAM practitioner and want more education on CAM.
We surveyed the attitudes of Japanese medical doctors toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in 1999. It is supposed that the situation concerning CAM has been changing recently. The aim of the present study is to survey the attitude of doctors toward CAM again, and to examine changes in attitude over the last 6 years. The attitudes of medical doctors belonging to the Kyoto Medical Association toward CAM were surveyed by a structured, self-administered questionnaire in 1999 and 2005. The results showed that the doctors familiar with the term “CAM”, practicing CAM therapies, and attending meetings or training courses related with CAM, increased significantly from 1999 to 2005. The doctors who possessed knowledge of CAM also increased significantly from 1999 to 2005. Almost all doctors believed in the effectiveness of Kampo (Japanese traditional herbal medicine) and acupuncture. The number of doctors who believed in the effectiveness of aromatherapy and ayurveda increased significantly in 2005, compared with 1999. In the near future, 58% of doctors desired to practice CAM therapies. In conclusion, the numbers of doctors who practice CAM therapies, possess CAM knowledge and desire to practice such therapies have increased over the last 6 years in Japan.
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.
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.
Objective. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is prevalent. Concurrently, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide, with early detection techniques widely available. This paper examined the overlap between participation in allopathic breast cancer early detection activities and CAM use. Methods. A systematic review examined the association between breast screening behaviors and CAM use. Searches were conducted on the PubMed, Embase, CINAHL, and NCCAM databases and gray literature between 1990 and 2011. STROBE criteria were used to assess study quality. Results. Nine studies met the search criteria. Four focused on CAM use in women at high breast cancer risk and five on average risk women. CAM use in women ranged from 22% to 82% and was high regardless of breast cancer risk. Correlations between CAM use and breast cancer early detection were not strong or consistent but significant relationships that did emerge were positive. Conclusions. Populations surveyed, and measures used to assess CAM, breast cancer screening, and correlates, varied widely. Many women who obtained allopathic screening also sought out CAM. This provides a foundation for future interventions and research to build on women's motivation to enhance health and develop ways to increase the connections between CAM and allopathic care.
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.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the attitudes of physicians at an academic medical center toward complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies and the physicians' knowledge base regarding common CAM therapies. A link to a Web-based survey was e-mailed to 660 internists at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, USA. Physicians were asked about their attitudes toward CAM in general and their knowledge regarding specific CAM therapies. The level of evidence a physician would require before incorporating such therapies into clinical care was also assessed. Of the 233 physicians responding to the survey, 76% had never referred a patient to a CAM practitioner. However, 44% stated that they would refer a patient if a CAM practitioner were available at their institution. Fifty-seven percent of physicians thought that incorporating CAM therapies would have a positive effect on patient satisfaction, and 48% believed that offering CAM would attract more patients. Most physicians agreed that some CAM therapies hold promise for the treatment of symptoms or diseases, but most of them were not comfortable in counseling their patients about most CAM treatments. Prospective, randomized controlled trials were considered the level of evidence required for most physicians to consider incorporating a CAM therapy into their practice. The results of this survey provide insight into the attitudes of physicians toward CAM at an academic medical center. This study highlights the need for educational interventions and the importance of providing physicians ready access to evidence-based information regarding CAM.
integrative medicine; physician attitudes; physician education
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.
To describe racial and ethnic differences in the utilization patterns of 12 common types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and mainstream medicine (MSM) and to test whether a specific CAM type is a substitute for or a complement to MSM among five racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey in 1996 and 1998 were used. The sample of 46,673 respondents was stratified into non-Hispanic whites (NHW), Hispanics, blacks, Asians, and other races. Twelve types of CAM visits and visits to office-based and outpatient physicians were used to describe the pattern of CAM and MSM use. Utilization patterns among each racial and ethnic group were established and compared. Multivariate analyses were conducted to test whether each type of CAM and MSM were complements or substitutes within a racial and ethnic group, controlling for respondents' sociodemographics and health.
Significant intergroup differences in the prevalence rates of using various types of CAM were found. In particular, for some racial and ethnic groups, CAM can be either a substitute for or a complement to MSM visits, depending on the CAM type. More complementary relationships between CAM and physician visits were found in NHW and Asians than in other groups. All significant relationships between CAM types and physician visits among Hispanics and other races (predominantly Native American Indians) were substitution.
Complementarity and substitution of CAM and MSM varied by racial and ethnic groups and by type of CAM. Culturally sensitive approaches are needed in successful integration of CAM in treatment management.
Patients with cancer increasingly use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in conjunction with conventional oncology treatments. This study looks at the prevalence and correlates of individual CAM modalities initiated after cancer diagnosis.
Patients with cancer increasingly use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in conjunction with conventional oncology treatments. Previous studies have not investigated postdiagnosis initiation of CAM therapies or independent correlates of use of individual CAM modalities. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and correlates of individual CAM modalities initiated after cancer diagnosis.
A cross-sectional survey was conducted of a random sample of adults with a cancer diagnosis (N = 1,228) seeking care at a National Cancer Institute–designated comprehensive cancer center within a 12-month period.
The majority of patients were female (64.7%), white (86.9%), and married (72.8%).Three-quarters (75.2%) used at least one CAM modality, and 57.6% of those using CAM initiated use after cancer diagnosis. For all CAM therapies combined, women were 1.7 times more likely than men to initiate any CAM therapy after cancer diagnosis. However, when CAM modalities were differentiated by type, men and women were equally likely to initiate all therapies except for psychotherapy and mind-body approaches. Postdiagnosis initiation of every CAM modality, except mind-body therapies, differed by cancer type.
A significant proportion of patients initiated CAM use after diagnosis. However, specific type of CAM initiated varied by demographics and cancer type, suggesting there is not a “typology” of CAM user. Optimal comprehensive cancer treatment, palliation, and survivorship care will require patient and provider education regarding CAM use by modality type; improved provider-patient communication regarding potential benefits, limitations, and risks; and institutional policies to support integrated conventional and CAM treatment.
To assess whether complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is associated with the timing of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) initiation among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected participants of the Women’s Interagency HIV Study.
Prospective cohort study between January 1996 and March 2002. Differences in the cumulative incidence of HAART initiation were compared between CAM users and non–CAM users using a logrank test. Cox regression model was used to assess associations of CAM exposures with time to HAART initiation.
Main Outcome and Exposures
Study outcome was time from January 1996 to initiation of HAART. Primary exposure was use of any CAM modality before January 1996, and secondary exposures included the number and type of CAM modalities used (ingestible CAM medication, body practice, or spiritual healing) during the same period.
One thousand thirty-four HIV-infected women contributed a total of 4987 person-visits during follow-up. At any time point, the cumulative incidence of HAART initiation among CAM users was higher than that among non–CAM users. After adjustment for potential confounders, those reporting CAM use were 1.34 times (95% confidence interval: 1.09, 1.64) more likely to initiate HAART than non–CAM users.
Female CAM users initiated HAART regimens earlier than non–CAM users. Initiation of HAART is an important clinical marker, but more research is needed to elucidate the role specific CAM modalities play in HIV disease progression.
We examined the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) at 3 US pediatric medical centers, comparing a group of children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) with children presenting with chronic constipation.
Materials and Methods
Surveys were administered by postal mail and at pediatric IBD centers in San Francisco, Houston, and Atlanta from 2001 to 2003. A comparison group consisting of pediatric patients with chronic constipation also was surveyed. Data were analyzed by t tests and by exact tests of contingency tables.
In all, 236 surveys were collected from the IBD group; 126 surveys were collected from the chronic constipation comparison group. CAM therapies were used by 50% in the IBD group and 23% in the chronic constipation group. The overall regional breakdown of CAM use in IBD revealed no differences, although the types of CAM therapy used varied by site. The most commonly used CAM therapies in the IBD group were spiritual interventions (25%) and nutritional supplements (25%). Positive predictors for CAM use in IBD include the patient's self-reported overall health, an increase in the number of side effects associated with allopathic medications, white ethnicity, and parental education beyond high school.
This is the first US study to characterize CAM use in pediatric patients with IBD with another chronic gastrointestinal disorder. CAM use was twice as common with the IBD group compared with the chronic constipation group. Regional variations exist with the types of CAM therapy used. Practitioners should know that half of their pediatric patients with IBD may be using CAM in conjunction with or as an alternative to other treatments and that certain predictors can help identify those using CAM therapies.
Complementary and alternative medicine; Constipation; Inflammatory bowel disease; Survey study
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.
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.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is emerging as an important form of care in the United States. We sought to measure the prevalence of selected CAM use among veterans attending oncology and chronic pain clinics and to describe the characteristics of CAM use in this population.
The self-administered, mail-in survey included questions on demographics, health beliefs, medical problems and 6 common CAM treatments (herbs, dietary supplements, chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture and homeopathy) use. We used the chi-square test to examine bivariate associations between our predictor variables and CAM use.
Seventy-two patients (27.3%) reported CAM use within the past 12 months. CAM use was associated with more education (p = 0.02), higher income (p = 0.006), non-VA insurance (p = 0.003), additional care outside the VA (p = 0.01) and the belief that lifestyle contributes to illness (p = 0.015). The diagnosis of chronic pain versus cancer was not associated with differential CAM use (p = 0.15). Seventy-six percent of CAM non-users reported that they would use it if offered at the VA.
Use of 6 common CAM treatments among these veterans is lower than among the general population, but still substantial. A large majority of veterans reported interest in using CAM modalities if they were offered at the VA. A national assessment of veteran interest in CAM may assist VA leaders to respond to patients' needs.
The primary purpose of this survey was to assess the interest and concerns of a group of cancer complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners regarding CAM research issues. These issues include the CAM modalities used most often by CAM practitioners in the treatment of cancer patients, cancer CAM practitioners’ perceptions of the most promising areas of cancer CAM research, the perceived obstacles to carrying out research objectives in the emerging field of cancer CAM research, the extent of awareness of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Best Case Series Program, and CAM practitioners’ level of interest in research collaboration with CAM researchers. A cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of cancer CAM practitioners was conducted. One hundred thirty-four respondents completed the survey. About 72% of the respondents were involved in the care of cancer patients, and these were considered the informative respondents. All results were from the informative respondent group. Respondent practitioners provided care using interventions from all seven of the predefined CAM categories. This care was provided to improve both quality of life and survival. Over two-thirds of the respondents rated research in pharmacologic and biologic treatments, alternative medical systems and nutritional therapeutics for cancer treatment, and symptom/side-effect management as high-priority areas. Although no single obstacle to research predominated as the most significant, the most frequently encountered obstacle was lack of awareness of appropriate funding sources (75.4%). More than 83% of respondents expressed some interest in or willingness to establish research collaboration with a cancer researcher. The results from this survey indicate that many cancer CAM practitioners have shared interests, perceived obstacles, and desired research opportunities. Despite a small sample size and lack of a feasible process for random sampling, this survey highlights avenues to promote and support collaborative research. The NCI/Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine will continue to respond to the concerns elucidated by the survey by developing strategies for future program opportunities within the NCI.
cancer complementary and alternative medicine practitioners; complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); practitioner survey
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.
In the United States, it is estimated that 40% of adults utilize complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. Recently, national surveys report that over 90 million adults have inadequate health literacy. To date, no study has assessed health literacy and its effect on CAM use. The primary objective of this study was to assess the relationship between health literacy and CAM use independent of educational attainment. Second objective was to evaluate the differential effect of health literacy on CAM use by race.
351 patients were recruited from an outpatient primary care clinic. Validated surveys assessed CAM use (I-CAM-Q), health literacy (REALM-R), and demographic information. We compared demographics by health literacy (adequate vs. inadequate) and overall and individual CAM categories by health literacy using chi square statistics. We found a race by health literacy interaction and ran sequential logistic regression models stratified by race to test the association between health literacy and overall CAM use (Model 1), Model 1 + education (Model 2), and Model 2 + other demographic characteristics (Model 3). We reported the adjusted effect of health literacy on CAM use for both whites and African Americans separately.
75% of the participants had adequate literacy and 80% used CAM. CAM use differed by CAM category. Among whites, adequate health literacy was significantly associated with increased CAM use in both unadjusted (Model 1, OR 7.68; p = 0.001) and models adjusted for education (Model 2, OR 7.70; p = 0.002) and other sociodemographics (Model 3, OR 9.42; p = 0.01). Among African Americans, adequate health literacy was not associated with CAM use in any of the models.
We found a race by literacy interaction suggesting that the relationship between health literacy and CAM use differed significantly by race. Adequate health literacy among whites is associated with increased CAM use, but not associated with CAM use in African Americans.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used for the treatment of infertility. While the Middle East and North Africa region has been shown to house one of the fastest growing markets of CAM products in the world, research describing the use of CAM therapies among Middle-Eastern infertile patients is minimal. The aim of this study is to examine the prevalence, characteristics and determinants of CAM use among infertile patients in Lebanon.
A cross sectional survey design was used to carry out face-to-face interviews with 213 consecutive patients attending the Assisted Reproductive Unit at a major academic medical center in Beirut. The questionnaire comprised three sections: socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics, infertility-related aspects and information on CAM use. The main outcome measure was the use of CAM modalities for infertility treatment. Determinants of CAM use were assessed through the logistic regression method.
Overall, 41% of interviewed patients reported using a CAM modality at least once for their infertility. There was a differential by gender in the most commonly used CAM therapies; where males mostly used functional foods (e.g. honey & nuts) (82.9%) while females mostly relied on spiritual healing/prayer (56.5%). Factors associated with CAM use were higher household income (OR: 0.305, 95% CI: 0.132–0.703) and sex, with females using less CAM than males (OR: 0.12, 95% CI: 0.051–0.278). The older patients were diagnosed with infertility, the lower the odds of CAM use (p for trend <0.05). Almost half of the participants (48%) were advised on CAM use by their friends, and only 13% reported CAM use to their physician.
The considerably high use of CAM modalities among Lebanese infertile patients, added to a poor CAM use disclosure to physicians, underscore the need to integrate CAM into the education and training of health professionals, as well as enhance infertile patients' awareness on safe use of CAM products.
Complementary and alternative medicine; Infertility; Lebanon
Infertility patients are a vulnerable group that often seeks a non-medical solution for their failure to conceive. World-wide, women use CAM for productive health, but only a limited number of studies report on CAM use to enhance fertility. Little is known about traditional and religious forms of therapies that are used in relation to conventional medicine in Turkey. We investigated the prevalence and types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) used by infertile Turkish women for fertility enhancement.
A face-to-face questionnaire inquiring demographic information and types of CAM used for fertility enhancement were completed by hundred infertility patients admitted to a primary care family planning centre in Van, Turkey between January and July 2009.
The vast majority of infertile women had used CAM at least once for infertility. CAM use included religious interventions, herbal products and recommendations of traditional "hodja's" (faith healers). Of these women, 87.8% were abused in the last 12 months, 36.6% felt not being supported by her partner and 80.5% had never spoken with a physician about CAM.
Infertile Turkish women use complementary medicine frequently for fertility enhancement and are in need of information about CAM. Religious and traditional therapies are used as an adjunct to, rather than a substitute for, conventional medical therapy. Physicians need to approach fertility patients with sensitivity and should be able to council their patients about CAM accordingly.
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.
In the U.S., complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is most prevalent among reproductive age, educated women. We sought to determine general attitudes and approaches to CAM among obstetric and gynecology patients and physicians.
Obstetrician-gynecologist members of the American Medical Association in the state of Michigan and obstetric-gynecology patients at the University of Michigan were surveyed. Physician and patient attitudes and practices regarding CAM were characterized.
Surveys were obtained from 401 physicians and 483 patients. Physicians appeared to have a more positive attitude towards CAM as compared to patients, and most reported routinely endorsing, providing or referring patients for at least one CAM modality. The most commonly used CAM interventions by patients were divergent from those rated highest among physicians, and most patients did not consult with a health care provider prior to starting CAM.
Although obstetrics/gynecology physicians and patients have a positive attitude towards CAM, physician and patients' view of the most effective CAM therapies were incongruent. Obstetrician/gynecologists should routinely ask their patients about their use of CAM with the goal of providing responsible, evidence-based advice to optimize patient care.
Research has identified women in rural and remote areas as higher users of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners than their urban counterparts. However, we currently know little about what influences women's CAM consumption across the urban/rural divide. This paper analyses 10,638 women's CAM use across urban and rural Australia.
Data for this research comes from Survey 5 of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health conducted in 2007. The participants were aged 56-61years. The health status and health service use of CAM users and non-users were compared using chi-square tests for categorical variables and t-tests for continuous variables.
Women who consulted a CAM practitioner varied significantly by place of residence: 28%, 32% and 30% for urban, rural and remote areas respectively (P < .005). CAM users tended to be more dissatisfied with conventional care than CAM non-users, but this was consistent across the 3 areas of residence. CAM users have higher percentages of most symptoms but the only rural/urban differences were for severe tiredness, night sweats, depression and anxiety. For diagnosed diseases, CAM users have higher percentages of most diagnoses but only hypertension and skin cancer were statistically significantly higher for rural and remote but not urban women (P < .005).
In contrast to some recent claims, our analysis suggests the lack of access to and/or patient dissatisfaction with conventional health practitioners may not play a central role in explaining higher use of CAM by women in rural and remote areas when compared to women in urban areas.