Journal of Community Health

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 1004–1010 | Cite as

Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among Men with Prostate Cancer in a Rural Setting

  • Susan ButlerEmail author
  • Ashli Owen-Smith
  • Colleen DiIorio
  • Michael Goodman
  • Jonathan Liff
  • Kyle Steenland
Original Paper


The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and predictors of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among rural patients with localized prostate cancer. The study also examined the participants’ disclosure of CAM use to their physicians. Baseline and 6-month follow-up data were taken from a study examining the factors that influence treatment choice and quality of life among men diagnosed with and being treated for localized prostate cancer residing in rural southwest Georgia (N = 321). A total of 291 participants were interviewed at baseline and 6-month follow-up. Findings: At baseline, 26.4% reported ever using CAM. Among them, dietary supplements were the most commonly used (75%), and 56% of patients did not disclose their CAM use to their physicians. At 6-month follow-up, 11% of the study sample reported using CAM since starting treatment (half of these were new users). The proportions of CAM users who reported taking dietary supplements after treatment were significantly lower than the corresponding proportions before treatment. CAM use after treatment was more common among those who selected surgery and watchful waiting. While 44% of the sample disclosed using CAM to their doctors before treatment, 61% after treatment began (P = 0.05). We found that CAM use after cancer treatment in this population was markedly less common than in nationally reported data for cancer patients. In line with national patterns, younger and more educated rural patients were significantly more likely to have ever used CAM and to use it after treatment.


Prostate cancer Cancer Complementary and alternative medicine 



This publication was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number SIP 25-04 (Grant 3 U48 DP000043-01S1) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Butler
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ashli Owen-Smith
    • 1
  • Colleen DiIorio
    • 1
  • Michael Goodman
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jonathan Liff
    • 2
    • 3
  • Kyle Steenland
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health EducationEmory University Rollins School of Public HealthAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyEmory University Rollins School of Public HealthAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Georgia Comprehensive Cancer RegistryAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Environmental HealthEmory University Rollins School of Public HealthAtlantaUSA

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