How Many Cancer Patients Use Complementary or Alternative Medicine Treatments?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nina Niu Sanford, M.D. Assistant ProfessorUT Southwestern Department of Radiation OncologyDallas TX 75390

Dr. Niu Sanford

Nina Niu Sanford, M.D.
Assistant Professor
UT Southwestern Department of Radiation Oncology
Dallas TX 75390

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: There has been increasing interest in use of complementary and alternative medicine in the oncology population – both in terms of its potential efficacy and harms.

The main finding of this study is that approximately 1/3 of cancer patients and survivors self-reported using complementary or alternative medicine over the past year, the most common being herbal supplements.

Of these patients, approximately 1/3 did not disclose to their physicians that they were doing so.

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Higher Socioeconomic Status Linked to More Use of Complementary Medicine

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

James Yu, MD, MHS Director of Yale Medicine's Prostate & Genitourinary Cancer Radiotherapy Program

Dr. James Yu

James YuMDMHS
Director of Yale Medicine’s Prostate & Genitourinary Cancer Radiotherapy Program

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We previously investigated alternative medicine (therapy used instead of conventional medicine) and showed its use (vs. non-use) was associated with an increased risk of death, but we did not investigate complementary medicine (non-medical therapy used in addition to conventional medicine).  Approximately two-thirds of cancer patients believe CM will prolong life and one-third expect it to cure their disease despite lack of evidence to support this.

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Functional Medicine Plan Treats Fatigue, Stress and Digestive Issues in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

SUSANNE M. CUTSHALL, APRN, CNS, D.N.P. Division of General Internal Medicine Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Susanne Cutshall

SUSANNE M. CUTSHALL, APRN, CNS, D.N.P.
Division of General Internal Medicine
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Several years ago a group of practitioners from the Mayo Clinic, including Sue Cutshall and Larry Bergstrom took my functional medicine training program that I teach through The Kalish Institute. They were interested in researching the effectiveness of the functional medicine techniques I’ve developed over the last twenty years, so we embarked on this study together. The study showed women on the program experienced increased energy, were better able to handle stress and had less physical pain. Additional information gathered from follow-up testing, but not reported in the formal study, showed a significant improvement in digestive health as well.

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Many Hospitalized Oncology Patients Would Like Complementary Health Treatments

Maria T. Chao, DrPH, MPA Assistant Professor of Medicine Osher Center for Integrative Medicine & Division of General Internal Medicine - SFGH UCSF San Francisco, CA 94143-1726

Dr. Chao

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Maria T. Chao, DrPH, MPA

Assistant Professor of Medicine
Osher Center for Integrative Medicine
& Division of General Internal Medicine – SFGH
UCSF
San Francisco, CA 94143-1726

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Chao: Many Americans use complementary and integrative health (CIH) approaches to help them manage the symptoms of chronic diseases. To date, most of these treatments are only available in outpatient clinics. In this study, we asked oncology inpatients which of 12 different CIH approaches they currently use or have tried in the past, and also which approaches they would like to be available in the hospital. We found that 95% of patients had tried at least one  complementary and integrative health approach in the past, and that a similarly high number were interested in accessing these services as an inpatient. More than three quarters of our sample expressed interest in receiving nutritional counseling and massage during their hospital stay, and approximately half were interested in acupuncture, biofeedback, and mindfulness meditation.

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