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 examine use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by women with varying levels of familial and perceived risk of breast cancer with the goal of preventing breast cancer.
Cross-sectional data on CAM use were collected on 2198 women (mean age 63) personally unaffected by breast cancer in the Minnesota Breast Cancer Family Study. CAM use was compared across women at high, moderate, or average risk based on family history, as well as across categories of perceived risk of breast cancer. CAM use was also examined in relation to screening and general health behaviors, worry about breast cancer, and optimism.
Half (49.5%) of the women reported using at least one CAM modality with the intent of preventing breast cancer. Univariate analyses indicated that greater overall CAM use was related to greater perceived risk (p = .018), more general health behaviors (p < .0001), more breast cancer screening behaviors (p = .0002), greater optimism (p = .0002) and higher educational attainment (p < .0001). Multivariate analysis revealed that general health behaviors (p < .0001), education (p = .0027), and optimism (p = .037) were significant predictors of CAM use when in the same model with perceived risk and breast cancer screening behaviors.
Many women use CAM with the goal of preventing breast cancer. General health promoting behaviors, education, and optimism predict CAM use. Evidence-based guidance is needed for the public and health care providers on the potential and limitations of specific CAM approaches to impact cancer risk.
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.
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.
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.
This study sought to describe the pattern of complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) use among a group of patients with advanced breast cancer, to examine the main reasons for their CAM use, to identify patient's information sources and their communication pattern with their physicians.
Face-to-face structured interviews of patients with advanced-stage breast cancer at a comprehensive oncology center.
Seventy three percent of patients used CAM; relaxation/meditative techniques and herbal medicine were the most common. The most commonly cited primary reason for CAM use was to boost the immune system, the second, to treat cancer; however these reasons varied depending on specific CAM therapy. Friends or family members and mass media were common primary information source's about CAM.
A high proportion of advanced-stage breast cancer patients used CAM. Discussion with doctors was high for ingested products. Mass media was a prominent source of patient information. Credible sources of CAM information for patients and physicians 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies have been provided at hospitals along with conventional medicine in industrialized nations. Previous studies conducted in Japan revealed high proportion of Japanese had experience of using CAM, but failed to discuss how it should be provided. The present study aims to clarify the demand for CAM practice at hospitals in Japan. A questionnaire consisting of 41 questions was mailed to 10 000 adults randomly selected from the electoral roll of Mie prefecture, Japan in January 2007. The questionnaire asked the subjects about demand for CAM practice at hospitals, types of CAM therapy to be provided and associated reasons. Sociodemographic characteristics, perceived health status, experience and purpose of CAM use, and information resource for CAM were also surveyed. Completed answers were collected from 2824 (28.6%) respondents. Two thousand and nineteen (71.5%) of the respondents demanded CAM practice at hospitals with the most likely reason of “patients can receive treatment under the guidance of a physicians". The three most popular CAM therapies were Kampo, acupressure/massage/Shiatsu and acupuncture/moxibustion. The demand was positively associated with gender, ages of 40–59 years, annual household incomes of 5–7 million yen, occupation of specialist and technical workers and sales workers and poor health status. Higher demand was observed among those who used both CAM and conventional medical therapies for curative purposes. In conclusion, Japanese show a high demand for CAM practice, hoping to use CAM for curative purposes with monitoring by physicians at hospitals.
Breast cancer patients may have different complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) usage rates and may turn to CAM for different reasons than healthy adults. CAM has mostly been studied in recently diagnosed women; no studies have included survivors 10 years post-diagnosis. We examined very long-term breast cancer survivors to determine whether CAM users had dissimilar patterns of association with survivorship factors. Interviews of 374 breast cancer case patients from a population-based case–control breast cancer study of young women from Los Angeles County, California, during the 1980s occurred at follow-up; 371 patients with complete information were included. CAM represented 28 herbal remedies. Quality-of-life originated from the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36 questionnaire (SF-36). Higher rates of CAM (59%) usage occurred compared to nationwide estimates. CAM users resembled non-users on follow-up age, exercise, original disease, treatment, smoking, body-mass index, alcohol, and fear of recurrence. CAM users had a higher prevalence of medical co-morbidities (P = 0.0005), and scored significantly lower on the SF-36 emotional well-being subscale than non-CAM users (P = 0.01). CAM users and non-users did not differ on the SF-36 physical sub-scale. Very long-term breast cancer survivors who use CAM may have poorer emotional functioning and more medical problems than non-users.
Breast neoplasms; Complementary therapies; Survivors
Despite the extensive use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among cancer patients, patient-physician communication regarding CAM therapies remains limited. This study quantified the extent of patient-physician communication about CAM and identified factors associated with its discussion in radiation therapy (RT) settings.
Methods and Materials
We conducted a cross-sectional survey of 305 RT patients at an urban academic cancer center. Patients with different cancer types were recruited in their last week of RT. Participants self-reported their demographic characteristics, health status, CAM use, patient-physician communication regarding CAM, and rationale for/against discussing CAM therapies with physicians. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify relationships between demographic/clinical variables and patients’ discussion of CAM with radiation oncologists.
Among the 305 participants, 133 (43.6%) reported using CAM, and only 37 (12.1%) reported discussing CAM therapies with their radiation oncologists. In multivariate analyses, female patients (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 0.45, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.21-0.98) and patients with full-time employment (AOR 0.32, 95% CI 0.12-0.81) were less likely to discuss CAM with their radiation oncologists. CAM users (AOR 4.28, 95% CI 1.93-9.53) were more likely to discuss CAM with their radiation oncologists than were non-CAM users.
Despite the common use of CAM among oncology patients, discussions regarding these treatments occur rarely in the RT setting, particularly among female and full-time employed patients. Clinicians and patients should incorporate discussions of CAM to guide its appropriate use and to maximize possible benefit while minimizing potential harm.
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
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.
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 National Institutes of Health reported in 2007 that approximately 38% of United States adults have used at least one type of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). There are no studies available that assess general CAM use in US pregnant women.
The objectives of our study were to determine the prevalence and type of CAM use during pregnancy at one medical center; understand who is using CAM and why they are using it; and assess the state of patients’ CAM use disclosure to their obstetrical providers.
A cross-sectional survey study of post-partum women was done to assess self-reported CAM use during pregnancy. Results of this survey were compared to results from a previous survey performed by this research team in 2006. Data were analyzed using binary logistic regression.
In 2013, 153 women completed the survey, yielding a response rate of 74.3%. Seventy-two percent and 68.5% of participants reported CAM use during their pregnancies in 2006 and 2013 respectively. The percentage of participants who reported discussing CAM use with their obstetrical providers was less than 1% in 2006 and 50% in 2013. Increased use of different CAM therapies was associated with increased maternal age, primagravida, being US-born, and having a college education (p ≤ 0.05). However, these factors were poor predictors of CAM use.
Given the frequency of CAM use and the difficulty in predicting who is using it, obstetrical providers should consider being informed about CAM and incorporating discussions about its use into routine patient assessments.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Pregnancy; Maternal-fetal health; Patient-physician communication; Self-care; Prevalence; Cross-sectional study