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Integr Cancer Ther. 2012 Sep;11(3):221-31. doi: 10.1177/1534735411403308. Epub 2011 Apr 15.

Use of Chinese medicine among survivors of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Taiwan: a population-based study.

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China Medical University Hospital, Taiwan.


Hypotheses. The authors hypothesized that the use of alternative medicine, in the form of Chinese medicine (CM), among patients in the continuing care phase of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in Taiwan is higher than the use in a matched control group of noncancer individuals.


This was a case-control study.


Using a population-based claim database, the authors identified 181 long-term survivors of NPC and 905 matched controls. They obtained information on CM use and associated cost as outcome measures. Descriptive analysis and regression models were applied to examine the association between NPC and the outcome measures.


The unadjusted CM initiation (34% vs 32%; P = .54), intensity of use (2.15 vs 1.73 visits; P = .37), and cost (US$79 vs US$58; P = .16) were higher for patients in the NPC group than for those in the control group. Regression analyses suggested that the NPC group had significantly more CM visits (1.01; 95% confidence interval = 0.07-1.96), and more than 50% of these visits were related to cancer.


The authors confirmed their hypotheses that the use of CM in the continuing care phase by patients with NPC in Taiwan was higher than the use in their matched, noncancer counterparts. These findings suggest that current clinical surveillance strategies for NPC might not meet patients' physical and emotional needs.

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