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Med J Aust. 1994 Mar 21;160(6):320-2.

The use of alternative therapies by children with cancer.

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Women's and Children's Hospital, North Adelaide, SA.



To identify the nature and prevalence of therapies used by children with cancer as alternatives to orthodox medical treatment.


A descriptive study in which the parents of children with cancer completed a questionnaire describing the use of alternative therapies by their children.


Children diagnosed with cancer, excluding brain tumours, at the Women's and Children's Hospital, South Australia, from July 1988 to July 1992.


Approximately 46% of the children with cancer had used at least one alternative therapy. In general, parents reported that the therapies were used as an addition to orthodox medical treatment rather than as an alternative. Less than 50% of the parents had discussed the use of the alternative therapies with the children's doctors.


A substantial proportion of children with cancer use alternative therapies and the use of these therapies is often not discussed with the children's medical practitioners. There is a continuing need to consider how to better provide, within the context of orthodox medical treatment, those elements of their children's care which parents currently seek from alternative therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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