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J Am Med Womens Assoc. 2001 Summer;56(3):120-3, 126.

Factors predicting the use of complementary therapies in a multi-ethnic sample of early-stage breast cancer patients.

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  • 1Department of Psychology and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida 33124-2070, USA.



to examine predictors of use of complementary therapies reported by women who had also received standard medical treatment for early-stage breast cancer.


A volunteer sample of 231 black, Hispanic, and non-Hispanic white patients with early-stage breast cancer (diagnosed within the preceding year) reported their use of complementary therapies. We examined predictors of the use of each therapy from among a set of demographic and quality of life measures.


Most women reported using 1 complementary therapy or more, most commonly psychotherapy, support groups, meditation, and spiritual healing. Use of psychotherapy related to age, education, and elevated distress. Use of other complementary therapies was not related to distress. More black than Hispanic or non-Hispanic white patients used herbal therapies and spiritual healing. Use of complementary therapies did not relate to expectation of recurrence, dissatisfaction with medical care, or (among relevant patients) concerns about the consequences of chemotherapy.


Use of healing therapies that do not replace medical treatment should be viewed as attempts to increase potential benefit and not as signs of distress or dissatisfaction. Use of complementary therapies also varies across racial and ethnic groups.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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