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Altern Ther Health Med. 2002 Mar-Apr;8(2):54-6, 58-60, 62-4.

Complementary and alternative medicine use among colorectal cancer patients in Alberta, Canada.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

No population-based data are available on the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) specifically among colorectal cancer patients.

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the prevalence and determinants of CAM use among colorectal cancer patients in Alberta, Canada.

DESIGN:

Population-based questionnaire.

SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:

Patients (871 of 1240 surveyed), or their close relatives or friends, who were diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 1993 or 1995 in Alberta, Canada.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Demographics, lifestyle, health status, symptoms and coping mechanisms, and attitudes about cancer cause, conventional treatments and practitioners, and CAM and practitioners.

RESULTS:

Seventy percent (871) of 1240 participants completed the questionnaire, and 49% used CAM. The most frequently used CAM therapies among users were psychological and spiritual therapies (65%), vitamins and minerals (46%), and herbs (42%). Sixty-eight percent of CAM users informed their medical doctors, and 69% used CAM after conventional care. Logistic regression suggested the strongest predictors of CAM use to be vegetarian diet, aged less than 50 years, female, having therapy options other than conventional treatment recommended by conventional doctors, experiencing changes in bowel habits orfatigue before diagnosis, and recommendation of chemotherapy. Nonsurviving patients were more likely to have used CAM than were survivors.

CONCLUSIONS:

Cancer patients are using CAM and communicating usage to physicians. This finding suggests that physicians should be prepared to discuss CAM with patients, and evidence-based information about CAM should be sought, including where CAM may pose risks. This study serves as a baseline for studies on the efficacy and safety of CAM.

PMID:
11890386
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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