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Integr Cancer Ther. 2017 Jun;16(2):188-195. doi: 10.1177/1534735416643828. Epub 2016 May 5.

Probiotic Survey in Cancer Patients Treated in the Outpatient Department in a Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Author information

1
1 Cancer Research Institute BMC, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia.
2
2 Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia.
3
3 National Cancer Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Availability without prescription restriction, low cost, and simple oral administration allow cancer patients to use probiotics without knowledge of potential risks. We present a survey of probiotic use and the association with patient tumor characteristics in cancer patients treated at the outpatient department of the National Cancer Institute in Slovakia.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Between March and December 2014, 499 patients were asked to evaluate their overall experience with probiotics by questionnaire form, including the length and method of use relative to anticancer therapy, expectations, side-effect experiences, understanding of the possible risks, dietary supplement use, and others. The relevant data were statistically evaluated.

RESULTS:

The cohort consisted of 323 women (64.7%) and 176 men (35.3%); 91.6% were undergoing chemotherapy (2.6% together with radiotherapy) and 8.4% had no anticancer therapy. The prevalence of probiotic use was 28.5% and only 12 patients using probiotics (8.5%) described negative side effects. Most patients declared consideration of probiotic use based on recommendation from a physician (37.3%) or a pharmacist (14.8%). Nevertheless, up to 86.6% of patients declared no knowledge of possible risks. Statistically significant correlation was found between probiotic use and age of patients (P < .008), gender (P < .023), and taking other dietary supplements (P < .000002).

CONCLUSIONS:

In this prospective study, we present for the first time the prevalence, side-effect experience, and aspects that most likely influence probiotic use in cancer patients. Minimal knowledge of risks underlines the importance of an active approach by oncologists to inform patients about probiotic safety.

KEYWORDS:

cancer; chemotherapy; dietary supplements; immunocompromised cancer patients; oncologist to patient communication; probiotics; safety

PMID:
27151581
PMCID:
PMC5739119
DOI:
10.1177/1534735416643828
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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