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15-04-2019 | Complementary and alternative medicine | News

News in brief

Guidance needed to encourage cancer patients, physicians to discuss CAM use

medwireNews: A third of cancer patients and survivors use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), but they do not always disclose its use to their physicians, findings indicate.

“Policy and guidelines should be established to encourage discussion of CAM,” say Nina Sanford (University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, USA) and colleagues, who evaluated data from the US National Health Interview Survey on 3118 participants reporting a history of cancer.

A total of 33.3% of individuals said they had used CAM during the past 12 months – most commonly herbal supplements (35.8%) and chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation (25.4%) – but 29.3% of them had not informed their physicians.

The most common reason given for not disclosing CAM use was that the physician did not ask (57.4%), but the participant’s belief that the physician did not need to know was also cited (47.4%). Participants were also concerned that physicians would not know as much about the therapy (8.5%) or would express a negative reaction (3.9%).

“Additional research is needed to assess health outcomes, quality of life, and cost implications associated with CAM use in the oncology patient population,” the team concludes in a research letter to JAMA Oncology.

By Shreeya Nanda

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2019 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature group

JAMA Oncol 2019; doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.0349

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