Alternative Therapy Used by Women

With Breast Cancer in Four Ethnic Populations

BACKGROUND: Interest in alternative therapies is growing rapidly in the United States. Researchers looked at the types and prevalence of conventional and alternative therapies used by women in four ethnic groups (Latino, white, black, and Chinese) diagnosed with breast cancer from 1990 through 1992 in San Francisco, CA, and explored factors influencing the choices of their therapies.

379 women were intereviewed via telephone in the language of their preference.

About one half of the women used at least one type of alternative therapy, and about one third used two types; most therapies were used for a duration of less than 6 months. Both the alternative therapies used and factors influencing the choice of therapy varied by ethnicity. Blacks most often used spiritual healing (36%), Chinese most often used herbal remedies (22%), and Latino women most often used dietary therapies (30%) and spiritual healing (26%). Among whites, 35% used dietary methods and 21% used physical methods, such as massage and acupuncture.

In general, women who had a higher educational level or income, were of younger age, had private insurance, and exercised or attended support groups were more likely to use alternative therapies. About half of the women using alternative therapies reported discussing this use with their physicians. More than 90% of the subjects found the therapies helpful and would recommend them to their friends.

CONCLUSIONS: Given the high prevalence of alternative therapies used in San Francisco by the four ethnic groups and the relatively poor communication between patients and doctors, physicians who treat patients with breast cancer should initiate dialogues on this topic to better understand patients' choices with regard to treatment options.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute January 5, 2000

Ann's NOTE: Research AGAIN confirms that many patients, regardless of ethnicity DO use alternative therapies. This study looked at use of alternative or complementary therapies from 1990-1992. Since then the use of these methods has grown. I am sure new studies will show greater use among all age groups and among all income levels.

Patient Use of Unconventional Therapy

As reported at ASCO 2000 Ask or they do not tell

CAM in Breast Ca Survivors: Nurses' Study
70+% Adults w/Cancer Use Alt Thrpies
Herbal Medicine-Elderly Hispanic/Non-Hispanic
Alternative Therapy Use: Elderly Afro-Am
Complementary, Alternative, Integrative or Unconventional Medicine?
CAM and Traditional Oncology
Cancer Pts Spend $500 Year:MORE Likely to Use Alt Med
Cancer Pts MORE Likely to Use Alternatives
CAM Use by Women Post/BCa Conventl Thrpy
Use of Alternative Therapy in a Randomized TRIAL
CAM, Integrative or Unconventional Med?

The Oncologist (Schwartz Ctr Rounds) 10/01

Alt Cures: "Unproven"/"Disproven"
From the Washington Post

Why patients want "alternatives" June 2000

CAM and Pediatric Patients

J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2000;22(5):412-416.

Cancer Specialists Avoid Alt Therapies

Danish survey finds docs last to want to know

Oncology Profsls & Cancer Pts Communicate on CAM
Use of CAM By Brazilian Oncologists
Patient Track-abstract (presented at conferences)

Join The Project in asking for randomized clinical trials

Alternative Medicine Used Worldwide

Oncologists are concerned worldwide

Survey of Canadian Patients Using CAM (66%)
Israeli Survey of CAM Users (called CT)
3/4 of UK reast Cancer Patients Use CAM
Use of Alternative/complementary Therapy in Breast ca Pts
Swedish Women and CAM Use
Attitudes of Pts w/Breast Ca & Prostate Ca and CAM
Attitudes Toward CAM in Finland
As Quoted in Artemis, 2/3 Americans use CAM

March 2001 Poll a Johns Hopkins publication

Patient's Need Information on Nutrition

Doctors' Guide Report on Hawaiin Patient Survey 6/01

Use of Alt Med Not Rejection of MD's

Reuters Health Article, July, 2001

Perceived Cancer Causes Use of CAM

Cancer Practice, 7/19/01

Complementary Med & Genetic Testing Program
Perceptions on CAM Among Adults Who Use Conventional & CAM

Ann Intern Med, 9/01

CAM for Breast Cancer
Alt Med &New Theories in Conv'l Med

Annals of Internal Med 10/01

Study on Dietary Supp Shows Bias & Misunderstanding, Arch Internal Medicine, 9/01

Supplement Use Among Cancer Survivors:VITAL Study
Mainstreaming CAM: Improving Studies

The Scientist, Dec, 2001

Update on Natural Product-Drug Interactions

Am J Health-Syst Pharm, 4/02 Not necessarily about cancer drugs

Specific Natural Substances-Drug Interactions
Communication Barriers:Pt Perspective


Decision to Forgo Conventional Treatment

Cancer Practice, 7/02

CAM During Cancer Treatment

Cancer Control, 2002

Internet for Medical Info

Psychosomatics, 4/03

Percptns/Attitudes/Clin Onc CAM: Japan

Cancer, 5/03

Am Med Association Article Supports CAM

Source: Tim Bolen, Consumer Advocate 11/03

Wisconsin & Quackbusters
Use of Mind-Body Medical Therapies

J Gen Internal Med, 1/04

Cancer Supportive Care: Yoga, Massage, Qigong
Psychologic Interventions Produce GREAT Results
Knowledge & Attitudes Toward CAM Among

Eur J Cancer, 3/04

Integrative Cancer Therapies Journal

LINK to journal homepage

Medbio Journals

LINK to many topics of journals in the alternative med world

WHEL: Disclosure on CAM Use

Integr Cancer Ther. 2008 Sep

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