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Integr Cancer Ther. 2005 Dec;4(4):274-86.

Reasons for and characteristics associated with complementary and alternative medicine use among adult cancer patients: a systematic review.

Author information

  • 1Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. mverhoef@ucalgary.ca

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To conduct a systematic review of reasons for and sociodemographic and disease characteristics associated with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in cancer patients.

METHODS:

Eligible studies were identified by searching the following databases: Alt Health Watch, AMED, CINAHL, CancerLit, PremMEDLINE, MEDLINE, Pub-Med, Ingenta, EMBASE, and Health Star, as well as reference lists in review articles. Only English-language articles published between 1994 and 2004 were included. Search terms included CAM and oncology/cancer, decision making and CAM and oncology/cancer, treatment decision making and CAM and oncology/cancer, and health care choices and CAM and oncology/cancer.

RESULTS:

Fifty-two eligible studies were identified and summarized. These studies were conducted in 14 different countries, with the largest number of studies being completed in the United States (34.6%). A therapeutic response, wanting control, a strong belief in CAM, CAM as a last resort, and finding hope were the most commonly cited reasons for using CAM. Age, socioeconomic status, and gender were the dominant characteristics associated with CAM use.

CONCLUSION:

Reasons for and characteristics associated with CAM use among cancer patients have been studied extensively. Future CAM research among cancer patients should focus on identifying decision-making processes and building theoretical decision-making models. These can be used in the development of decisional aids for patients when confronted with the choice to use CAM as part of their cancer treatment.

PMID:
16282504
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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