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Am J Hematol. 2009 Dec;84(12):795-8. doi: 10.1002/ajh.21554.

Complementary and alternative medicine use among long-term lymphoma survivors: a pilot study.

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Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


No published survey has specifically addressed the beliefs, knowledge, and usage of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in long-term (5-20 years) lymphoma survivors alone. In this pilot project, 95 subjects were randomly selected from a population of 2,475 long-term lymphoma survivors and mailed a questionnaire. The median time from lymphoma diagnosis to completion of the questionnaire was 11 years (range 6-20). Overall, 68% (95% CI: 54-80%) of the long-term lymphoma survivors reported that they have used CAM, a rate higher than the estimated usage rate reported for the general population The most commonly used modalities were chiropractic (39%, 95% CI: 27-53%) and massage therapy (21%, 95% CI: 12-34%). Less than 10% used meditation (5%, 95% CI: 1-15%) and relaxation (7%, 95% CI: 2-17%). In terms of common herbal usage, 5% (95% CI: 1-15%) had used St. John's Wort and 7% (95% CI: 2-17%) had used shark cartilage. Although none of the patients reported that CAM usage was directed specifically towards treating their lymphoma, 4% (95% CI: 0-12%) of patients reported that CAM could cure cancer, and 14% (95% CI: 6-26%) reported that CAM could increase their feeling of control over their health. This pilot study suggests that long-term lymphoma survivors appear to use CAM at a rate higher than the general population. The use of potential agents of risk by the survivors and the lack of access to potentially beneficial modalities highlights the need for further study of CAM in this population.

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