Author(s): Astin JA, Reilly C, Perkins C, Child WL Susan G Komen
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Abstract The purpose of this study was to examine patterns and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among breast cancer patients. A review of the existing survey literature on CAM use for breast cancer was conducted with a series of eight focus groups (N = 67) to further examine the perspectives of breast cancer patients on CAM. The rates of CAM use varied from 17 to 75\%, with a mean of 45\%. Vitamins and minerals and herbs were the most frequently cited categories. Users tended to be younger, more educated, and more likely to have used CAM prior to their diagnosis. Focus group data indicate that breast cancer patients use a wide array of CAM for a variety of reasons, including symptom management, improving quality of life, and enhancing immune function. Although women rely on a variety of resources for information, they frequently experience frustration owing to the absence or conflicting nature of such information. Communication with conventional providers about CAM is frequently experienced as either unsupportive or not helpful by many patients. The results point to the value of developing better evidence-based informational resources related to CAM and cancer and the need for physicians to become better educated about CAM and how to communicate more effectively with their breast cancer patients about it.
This article was published in J Soc Integr Oncol
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy