Complementary Medicine & Genetic Testing

Comparison of complementary medicine use at genetic testing program enrollment and one-year following results disclosure.

L. Digianni, M. Rue, K. Emmons, J. Garber;

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA

Abstract: Background: We sought to compare change in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use from enrollment into a randomized BRCA1/2 testing project to CAM use one-year following results disclosure.

We also explored factors influencing new CAM use at one-year by women not using CAM at program entry, including BRCA1/2 test result, anxiety, cancer-related surveillance behaviors, and prophylactic surgical choices.

Methods: A matched cohort of 243 high-risk women completed questionnaires at enrollment into BRCA1/2 randomized control trial (with semi-structured counseling intervention) and one-year post results disclosure.

Women were asked about their use of several types of CAM, including ingestible, behavioral and physical modalities. Assessment of the pattern of change in CAM use from baseline to one-year was done using McNemar’s Test of Change for Paired Samples.

Correlates of new CAM use at one-year were explored using logistic regression models for the subset of 113 women (46.5%) who did not report CAM use at enrollment into the testing program.

Results: Among women that changed their CAM behavior from baseline enrollment to one-year following BRCA1/2 results disclosure, there was a significantly higher proportion that changed from no CAM use to CAM use among the overall cohort (p=. 01), women without cancer (p=. 003), BRCA1/2 carriers (p=. 03), and among women randomized to the genetic counseling intervention arm of the study (p=. 009).

Additionally, new CAM use at one-year was positively associated with the reported number of cancer-related surveillance behaviors for both healthy women and cancer survivors.

Conclusions: High-risk women who have received BRCA1/2 testing may adopt new CAM use in the first year post disclosure. Healthy high-risk women and cancer survivors may utilize both CAM and other cancer-related surveillance strategies.

The correlation between CAM use and genetic counseling deserves further study.

Abstract No: 1013, ASCO 2004

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