CAM and Pediatric Patients

CAM PREVALENCE ON THE RISE AMONG PEDIATRIC PATIENTS The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies is highly prevalent among pediatric oncology patients, research finds. Of 75 pediatric patients receiving conventional treatment for cancer at the Babies and Children's Hospital of New York, 63 (84 percent) reported having used at least one CAM therapy since diagnosis. Users and non-users of CAM modalities did not differ significantly by age, ethnicity, family income, or level of parental education.

Dietary changes, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies were among the most commonly reported remedies. Parents of pediatric patients mentioned only half of the CAM modalities they tried to their child's physician. The majority (85 percent) of these children were also enrolled in clinical protocols for primary treatment.

Given the high frequency of CAM use among pediatric oncology patients and the possibility of interaction with chemotherapy and other conventional treatments, the researchers stress the need for further research on CAM therapies for all patients.

Source: Kelly KM, Jacobson JS, Kennedy DD, Braudt SM, Mallick M, Weiner MA. Use of unconventional therapies by children with cancer at an urban medical center. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2000;22(5):412-416.

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