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Patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use among patients undergoing cancer treatment

Corner, J., Yardley, J., Maher, E.J., Roffe, E., Young, T., Maslin-Prothero, S., Gwillim, C.J. and Lewith, G. (2009) Patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use among patients undergoing cancer treatment European Journal of Cancer Care, 18, (3), pp. 271-279. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2354.2007.00911.x). (PMID:19432919).

Record type: Article


This study aimed to assess the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in a representative cancer population prior to and within 6 months of diagnosis. A total of 304 newly diagnosed cancer patients from two UK cancer centres completed a postal survey. Of them, 100 patients (32.9%) used CAM before their cancer diagnosis, 59 of these CAM users continued post diagnosis. Twenty-nine individuals who had not used CAM before began to use it after their cancer diagnosis, creating a total of 88 (28.9%) CAM users in this sample. Reasons for not using CAM included lack of interest, lack of information or endorsement from professionals and satisfaction with conventional care. For those using CAM before diagnosis but not afterwards, the most common reason was a lack of expert guidance on what was safe to use. The use of CAM medicines bought from health food and other retail outlets was high. Complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer patients is common and demonstrates a complex pattern, but CAM use is not significantly greater than in the general population. Some patients purchase CAM medicines without seeking medical advice, thus risking drug interactions. Research to generate information on safety and efficacy of CAM is required.

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Published date: May 2009
Keywords: complementary medicine, alternative medicine, cancer, cancer treatment


Local EPrints ID: 61742
ISSN: 0961-5423
PURE UUID: 1333d567-58c4-46ed-896c-3e11eb79bbcc

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Date deposited: 06 Oct 2008
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 14:21

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Author: J. Corner
Author: J. Yardley
Author: E.J. Maher
Author: E. Roffe
Author: T. Young
Author: S. Maslin-Prothero
Author: C.J. Gwillim
Author: G. Lewith

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