The present study examined the associations between religion and spirituality (R/S), presurgical distress, and other psychosocial factors such as engagement coping, avoidant coping, and social support. Participants were 115 men scheduled for surgery for urologic cancer. Before surgery, participants completed scales measuring intrinsic religiosity, organized religious activity, and nonorganized religious activity (IR, ORA, NORA); social support (Medical Outcomes Study Social Support Survey); and distress (Impact of Event Scale [IES], Perceived Stress Scale [PSS], Brief Symptom Inventory-18 [BSI-18], and Profile of Mood States [POMS]). R/S was positively associated with engagement coping. Social support was positively associated with engagement coping and inversely associated with POMS and PSS scores. Engagement coping was positively associated with IES and BSI scores, and avoidant coping was positively associated with all distress measures. R/S moderated the association between engagement coping and IES scores, such that the association between engagement coping and IES was not significant for men with high R/S scores (greater religious belief). R/S moderated the association between social support and distress; the inverse association between social support and PSS and POMS scores was only significant for men who scored high on R/S. This study replicated findings from previous studies suggesting that engagement and avoidant types of coping can lead to increased distress prior to surgery. Although R/S was associated with engagement coping, it was not associated with any of the distress measures. The finding that R/S moderated the associations between engagement coping and distress and social support and distress suggests that the association between R/S, coping style, social support, and adjustment to stressful life situations is not simplistic, and indirect associations should be explored.
oncology; cancer; spirituality; religion; distress; surgery
Arthralgia affects postmenopausal women receiving aromatase inhibitors (AI) for breast cancer. Given the existing evidence for electro-acupuncture (EA) for treatment of osteoarthritis in the general population, this study aims to establish the feasibility of studying EA for treating AI-related arthralgia.
Patients and Methods
Postmenopausal women with stage I-III breast cancer who reported AI-related arthralgia were enrolled in a single arm feasibility trial. EA was provided twice a week for two weeks followed by six weekly treatments. The protocol was based on Chinese medicine diagnosis of “Bi” syndrome with electro-stimulation of needles around the painful joint(s). Pain severity of the modified Brief Pain Inventory was used as the primary outcome. Joint stiffness, Joint interference, and Patient Global Impression of Change (PGIC) were secondary outcomes. Paired-t tests were used for analysis.
Twelve women were enrolled and all provided data for analysis. From baseline to the end of intervention, patients reported reduction in pain severity (5.3 to 1.9), stiffness (6.9 to 2.4), and joint symptom interference (4.7 to 0.8), all P<0.001; 11/12 considered joint symptoms “very much better” based on PGIC. Subjects also reported significant decrease in fatigue (4.4 to 1.9, p=0.005) and anxiety (7.1 to 4.8, p=0.01). No infection or development or worsening of lymphedema was observed.
Preliminary data establishes the feasibility of recruitment and acceptance as well as promising preliminary safety and effectiveness. A randomized controlled trial is warranted to establish the efficacy of EA for AI-related arthralgia in breast cancer survivors.
Acupuncture; breast neoplasm; clinical trial; Aromatase inhibitors/*adverse effects; joint diseases
Men who have a brother with prostate cancer have a two-fold increased risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Strategies employed by these men to reduce prostate cancer risk are not well understood. Preliminary studies have shown that men with a family history of prostate cancer have a high rate of vitamin and supplement usage aimed at the prevention of prostate cancer.
We analyzed data from a cross-sectional study of men with familial and hereditary prostate cancer and their unaffected brothers. We interviewed 542 unaffected men who had at least one brother who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer regarding their use of vitamins and supplements, as well as the motivation for use.
The associations between subject characteristics and vitamin and supplement use were evaluated using an unconditional logistic regression modeling approach.
Overall, 59.2 and 36.5 percent of men reported ever using and currently using, respectively, one or more vitamins or supplements (including multivitamins). One-third of men took a vitamin or supplement that has been targeted for prostate health or cancer prevention, including green tea, magnesium, male hormones, saw palmetto, selenium, soy, vitamins A, C, E and zinc. Increasing age at time of survey was associated with vitamin/supplement use (OR=1.03; 95% CI=1.01–1.0). After adjusting for age at time of survey, being younger than an affected brother was associated with vitamin and supplement use (OR=1.51; 95% CI=1.01–2.25). 25% of men reported obtaining information from books or articles as the most common source of information.
Our findings indicate that men at an increased risk for prostate cancer report a high rate of vitamin and supplement use, including supplements targeted for prostate cancer prevention. Men with a family history of prostate cancer represent a target population for future chemopreventative agents.
Prostate Cancer Chemoprevention; Family History; Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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.
Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is the most frequently reported side effect of cancer and its treatment. In previous research, Polarity Therapy (PT), an energy therapy, was shown to reduce CRF in patients receiving radiation. This study reports on a small randomized clinical trial designed to collect preliminary data on the efficacy of PT compared with an active control (massage) and passive control (standard care) for CRF among cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.
Forty-five women undergoing radiation therapy for breast cancer were randomized to I of 3 weekly treatment conditions. Patients received standard clinical care, 3 modified massages, or 3 PT treatments. CRF and healthrelated quality of life (HRQL) were assessed during baseline and the 3 intervention weeks.
TResults show CRF ratings were reduced after PT. The effect sizes for PT versus modified massage and versus standard care were small when using the primary measure of CRF (Brief Fatigue Inventory) and large when using the secondary measure of CRF (Daily CRF Diaries).The effect size was medium when assessing the benefit of PT on maintaining HRQL compared with standard care with very little difference between the PT and modified massage conditions. Patients’ feedback showed that both the modified massage and PT treatments were deemed useful by radiation patients. Conclusion. The present pilot randomized clinical trial supports previous experimental research showing that PT, a noninvasive and gentle energy therapy, may be effective in controlling CRF. Further confirmatory studies as well as investigations of the possible mechanisms of PT are warranted.
cancer-related fatigue; radiation; Polarity Therapy; massage; quality of life; complementary and integrative medicine
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a mineral-rich extract derived from the red marine algae, Lithothamnion calcareum (Pallas), could be used as a dietary supplement for chemoprevention against colon polyp formation. Sixty C57bl/6 mice were divided into three groups based on diet. One group received a low-fat, rodent chow diet (AIN76A). The second group received a high-fat “Western style” diet (HFWD). The third group was fed the same HFWD with the mineral-rich extract included as a dietary supplement. Mice were maintained on the respective diets for 15 months. Autopsies were performed at the time of death or at the completion of the study. To summarize, the cumulative mortality rate was higher in mice on the HFWD during the 15 month period (55%) than in mice from the low-fat diet or the extract-supplemented high-fat diet groups (20% and 30%, respectively; p<0.05 with respect to both). Autopsies revealed colon polyps in 20% of the animals on the HFWD and none in animals of the other two groups (p<0.05). In addition to the grossly visible polyps, areas of hyperplasia in the colonic mucosa and inflammatory foci throughout the gastrointestinal tract were observed histologically in animals on the high-fat diet. Both were significantly reduced in animals on the low-fat diet and animals on the extract-supplemented HFWD. These data suggest that the mineral-rich algae extract may provide a novel approach to chemoprevention in the colon.
colorectal cancer; chemoprevention; epithelial cell differentiation; extracellular calcium-sensing receptor; mineral-rich red algae extract; Aquamin®
Dysphagia is a common side effect following chemoradiation therapy (CRT) in head and neck cancer (HNC) patients.
In this retrospective case series, ten HNC patients were treated with acupuncture for radiation-induced dysphagia and xerostomia. All patients were diagnosed with stage III/IV squamous cell carcinoma. Seven of 10 patients were percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube-dependent when they began acupuncture. Manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture were used once a week.
Nine of 10 patients reported various degrees of subjective improvement in swallowing functions, xerostomia, pain and fatigue levels. Six (86%) of 7 PEG tube-dependent patients had their feeding tubes removed after acupuncture, with a median duration of 114 days (range 49–368) post CRT. One typical case is described in detail.
A relatively short PEG tube duration and reduced symptom severity following CRT were observed in these patients. Formal clinical trials are required to determine the causality of our observations.
acupuncture; chemoradiation therapy; radiation therapy; head and neck cancer; dysphagia; percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tube
Circadian disruption has been linked with inflammation, an established cancer risk factor. Per3 clock gene polymorphisms have also been associated with circadian disruption and with increased cancer risk. Patients completed a questionnaire and provided a blood sample prior to undergoing a colonoscopy (n = 70). Adjusted mean serum cytokine concentrations (IL-6, TNF-alpha, gamma-INF, IL-I ra, IL-I-beta, VEGF) were compared among patients with high and low scores for fatigue (Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory), depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory II), or sleep disruption (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), or among patients with different Per3 clock gene variants. Poor sleep was associated with elevated VEGF, and fatigue-related reduced activity was associated with elevated TNF-alpha concentrations. Participants with the 4/5 or 5/5 Per3 variable tandem repeat sequence had elevated IL-6 concentrations compared to those with the 4/4 genotype. Biological processes linking circadian disruption with cancer remain to be elucidated. Increased inflammatory cytokine secretion may playa role.
circadian rhythm; clock gene; cytokine; inflammation
Nuclear receptor subfamily 1, group D member 1 (Nr1d1), also known as Rev-erb-α, belongs to the family of “orphan receptors” and functions as a member of clock gene family. In addition to being an important member of clock circuitry, Nr1d1, also regulates cell proliferation, lipid metabolism, and inflammation and is also touted as a tumor suppressor. Our focus on Nr1d1 was stimulated by data from a genome-wide search for mRNA correlates of cigarette smoke (CS) sensitive—whole smoke (WS) and filtered smoke (FS)—lung transcriptomes in tumor-resistant C57BL6 and tumor-susceptible AJ mice strains. Differential analysis of ~15 000 genes using Affymetrix 430A 2.0 high-density oligonucleotide arrays identified modulation of genes related to circadian pathways by CS in lungs of both mouse strains. Nr1d1 expression was downregulated by both WS and FS irrespective of mouse strain as compared to respective air-breathing controls. WS was more effective than FS on decreasing Nr1d1 expression. The present data suggest that transcriptional regulation of Nr1d1 by CS may affect circadian rhythmicity and thus may play a complementary role in CS-induced lung respiratory tract pathobiology and/or lung tumorigenesis.
Nr1d1; Rev-erb-α; C57BL6 mice strain; AJ mice strain; lungs; cigarette smoke; gene expression profiling; chronobiology
A 34-year-old female carrying a BRCA1 gene and a significant family history was diagnosed with T1c, N1 breast cancer. The tumor was estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor and HER-2/Neu negative. The patient received dose-dense chemotherapy with Adriamycin and Cytoxan followed by Taxol, and left breast irradiation. Later, a bilateral S-GAP flap reconstruction with right prophylactic mastectomy and left mastectomy were performed. During her treatment, the patient had an integrative medicine consultation and was seen by a team of healthcare providers specializing in integrative therapies including integrative nutrition, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, and yoga. Each modality contributed unique benefit in her care that led to a satisfactory outcome of the patient. A detailed discussion regarding her care from each modality is presented. The case elucidates the need of integrative approaches for cancer patients in a conventional medical setting.
breast cancer; integrative oncology; acupuncture; massage; yoga; nutrition; exercise; case discussion; integrative medical consult; Dana-Farber; complementary therapies; integrative therapies
Physician awareness of their patients’ use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is crucial, particularly in the setting of a potentially life-threatening disease such as cancer. The potential for harmful treatment interactions may be greatest when a patient sees a CAM practitioner – perceived as a physician-like authority figure – but does not disclose this to their physician. We therefore investigated the extent of nondisclosure in a large cohort of cancer patients.
We investigated CAM use in participants of the UCSD Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) Study, a multicenter study of the effect of diet and lifestyle on disease-free and overall survival in women ages 18–70 who had completed treatment for invasive breast cancer between 1995 and 2000. Data regarding CAM use and disclosure was collected via a telephone-administered questionnaire in 2003–2004. This questionnaire asked about different CAM modalities including those requiring a “skilled CAM practitioner” (acupuncturist, chiropractor, homeopath, or naturopath) for administration. Demographic data was obtained at the WHEL baseline clinic interview. Modality-specific disclosure rates were determined and a comparison of demographic variables of disclosers versus nondisclosers was conducted using Chi-squared tests for categorical variables, and t-tests for continuous variables.
Of 3088 total WHEL participants, 2527 completed the CAM questionnaire. Of these, 2017 reported using some form of CAM. Of these, 300 received treatment from an acupuncturist, chiropractor, homeopath, or naturopath and also provided information on whether or not they disclosed this care to their conventional physician. The highest disclosure rate was for naturopathy (85%), followed by homeopathy (74%), acupuncture (71%), and chiropractic (47%). Among demographic characteristics, only education (p = 0.047) and study site (p=0.039) were associated with disclosure. College graduates and postgraduates, in particular, were more likely to disclose CAM use to their physicians than those with lesser education.
Overall, we observed moderately high rates of physician disclosure of CAM use for all modalities except chiropractic. Education and study site associations suggest that disclosure may be greater when CAM use is more prevalent and possibly more socially accepted. These findings underscore the importance of open, destigmatized patient-physician communication regarding CAM use.
Breast cancer; CAM; complementary and alternative medicine; acupuncture; naturopathy; chiropractic; health communication; disclosure
Older patients are more likely than ever to be under the care of both physicians and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners, yet there is little research on older patients’ experience of these different relationships. This article addresses older breast cancer patients’ seeking of concurrent care and examines patients’ understandings of interactions with physicians and CAM practitioners. This is a qualitative study of a random, population-based sample of 44 older women with breast cancer who are simultaneously under the care of at least 1 physician and 1 CAM practitioner.
breast cancer; complementary and alternative medicine; patient–practitioner communication; aging; qualitative research
The Western diet has been associated with prostate cancer (PC) incidence as well as risk of disease progression after treatment. Conversely, plant-based diets have been associated with decreased risks. A 6-month pilot intervention trial was conducted to determine whether adoption of a plant-based diet, reinforced by stress reduction, could reduce the rate of prostate specific antigen (PSA) rise, a marker of disease progression, in asymptomatic, hormonally untreated patients experiencing consistently rising PSA levels after surgery or radiation.
A pre-post design was employed in which each patient served as his own control. In the current investigation, we examine: (1) the effect of intervention on potential mediators of disease progression, including body composition and weight-related biomarkers (sex steroid hormones and cytokines), and (2) whether changes in these variables were associated with change in rate of PSA rise. The baseline rate of PSA rise (from the time of post-treatment recurrence to the start of intervention) was ascertained by review of patients’ medical records. Body composition and biomarker assessments were performed at Baseline (prior to intervention), during intervention (3 months), and at the end of intervention (6 months). Changes in body composition and biomarkers were determined and compared with rates of PSA rise over the corresponding time intervals.
Over the course of the intervention period, there was a significant reduction in waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) (p=0.03) and increase in circulating sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) (p=0.04). The rate of PSA rise decreased when comparing the pre-intervention period (PSA slope=0.059) to the period from 0–3 months (PSA slope=−0.002, p<0.01) and increased slightly, though not significantly, when comparing the period from 0–3 months to the period from 3–6 months (0.029, p=0.43).
These results provide preliminary evidence that adoption of a plant-based diet and stress reduction may result in reduction of central adiposity and improvement of the hormonal milieu in patients with recurrent PC. Changes in the rate of rise in PSA were in the same direction as changes in WHR and opposite those of SHBG, raising the possibility that the effect of the intervention may have been mediated, in part, by these variables.
prostate; prostatic neoplasms; prostate-specific antigen; plant-based diet; stress reduction; sex steroid hormones; cytokines; disease progression