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J Urol. 2003 Jul;170(1):166-9.

Clinical, demographic and psychosocial correlates of complementary and alternative medicine use by men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer.

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1
Division of Population Science, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Cheltenham, PA, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

We examined complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among men who received standard therapy for localized prostate cancer.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

A total of 417 men completed a questionnaire 6 months after their treatment decision assessing clinical and psychosocial variables and use of 41 available CAM therapies grouped into the 2 general categories of herbal/dietary and nonherbal (i.e. mind-body, bioelectromagnetic, traditional/folk medicine, pharmacological/biological).

RESULTS:

The prostate cancer diagnosis prompted 19% of our sample to start using some form of CAM for prostate health, and 67% of men reported having used some form of CAM for prostate health before being diagnosed. Initiation of CAM was associated with being a member of an ethnic minority group and a higher level of education. Initiation of nonherbal CAM was associated with being married, while use of herbal CAM therapies was significantly associated with choosing observation. Herbal use before diagnosis was associated with being white, higher level of education and being single. Prostate specific antigen at diagnosis, Gleason score, quality of life, participant perceptions of seriousness of prostate cancer or self-reported worry about prostate cancer were not related to initiation or prior use. Of those men reporting current use almost 50% did not inform their treating physician of using CAM therapies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Initiation of CAM therapies as a result of a prostate cancer diagnosis was fairly low, although two-thirds of men had used it before diagnosis. Half of the patients did not inform their physicians about such use and physicians should continue to probe patients about CAM use.

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