Complementary and alternative medicines taken by cancer patients

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7: Bull Cancer. 2007 May 1;94(5):483-8.
[Complementary and alternative medicines taken by cancer patients]
[Article in French]

Simon L, Prebay D, Beretz A, Bagot JL, Lobstein A, Rubinstein I, Schraub S.

Centre Paul-Strauss, BP 42, 67065 Strasbourg.

244 cancer patients from 2 public hospitals (one adult, one pediatric) and one private clinic receiving chemotherapy were asked about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Nearly 28% used one or several CAM, especially homeopathy (60%), special diets or dietary supplements (44%), mistletoe (40%) and less frequently acupuncture or other treatments. These CAM are started 4 to 5 months after the onset of chemotherapy. The reasons for using CAM are enhance host defenses, better tolerance of treatment, but also for nearly 27% to treat cancer. All patients were treated by anticancer classical treatments and none thought to stop them. CAM are prescribed especially by homeopathic doctors. 30% of patients using CAM did not inform their oncologist of their CAM treatment. The same conclusions were drawn for the only 10 pediatric patients. The majority of all patients did not take any CAM before their cancer. In a multivariate analysis, female, young age (30-50 y) are correlated to CAM. All patients taking CAM are satisfied by the CAM treatment with good subjective results on their general status, fatigue and nausea-vomiting. These results are similar to other studies done in Europe.