Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in Mexican patients with cancer
Cancer is the second cause of death in Mexico, most cases are detected at advanced stages and the use of chemotherapy is frequent. At present, more than 300 types of complementary and/or alternative medicine (CAM) treatments are known that offer different therapeutic objectives. Many patients use this type of treatments.
To determine the characteristics of the patients that use CAM, to identify the aim of these treatments, the source of information and the potential benefits obtained by the patient.
Patients and methods
A questionnaire was applied from February 20 to March 5, 2004 to non-selected patients with cancer in private consultation to determine age, sex, education level, work, use of CAM, type and number of used therapies, potential benefits and monthly cost. Two groups were formed, A for users and B for non-users of CAM. Results between groups were compared and the mentioned variables were correlated with the use of alternative medicine.
Group A included 37 patients and group B included 38, with no difference regarding age, education level, work and oncological diagnosis, p> 0.05; a significant trend was found as regards the feminine sex, p=0.07, neoplasm different from breast cancer, p=0.08 and evident association with neoplasm advanced stages, p=0.02. Most patients used between 1 and 3 types of therapies, 97.2%. The most common types of therapies were nutritional and spiritual, 54% and 48.6%, respectively. The source was the patient's family in 56.4% and the physician in 24.3%. Complementary and alternative therapy was considered a success in 57.1%; most of the users mentioned benefits (78.6%) deemed as tranquility (46.4%) or improvement of the physical condition (46.4%). The average monthly cost was $ 345.5 dollars, with a range of $ 13.6 to $2,545.5 dollars.
The use of complementary and/or alternative therapy is frequent among young women with advanced cancer and high level of education. The family participates in the decision of using these methods; most users noticed a benefit in their general condition and reported tranquility; these patients may be prone to higher incidence of depression and anxiety. The effectiveness and safety of this type of treatments remain to be determined, as well as the possible interactions with conventional therapy.
Key wordscancer complementary and alternative medicine
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.www.dgepi.salud.gob.mx/diveent/DI-VEENT-INDEX.htm. Registro Histopatológico de Neoplasias en México. Dirección General de Epidemiología. Secretaria de Salud, 2001.Google Scholar
- 2.Serrano A, Gerson R. El cáncer, la muerte y la tanatología. Revista Internacional de Tanatología y Suicidio. 2004;IV:7–10.Google Scholar
- 3.Chu E, De Vita VT Jr. Principles of medical oncology. In: De Vita VT Jr, Hellman S, Rosemberg SA. Cancer: principles and practice of oncology. 7th edition. Philadelphia, USA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005, p. 295–306.Google Scholar
- 4.Ernst E. Obstacles to research in complementary and alternative medicine. MJA. 2003, p. 279.Google Scholar
- 6.Weiger WA, Smith M, Boon H, Richardson MA, Kaptchuk TJ, Eisenberg DM. Advising patients who seek complementary and alternative medical therapies for cancer. Ann Inter Med. 2002;137:889–903.Google Scholar
- 11.Downer SM, Cody MM, McCluskey P, et al. Pursuit and practice of complementary therapies by cancer patients receiving conventional treatment. BJM. 1994;309:86–9.Google Scholar
- 12.Paltiel O, Avitzour M, Peretz T, et al. Determinants of the use of complementary therapies by patients with cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2001;19:2459–48.Google Scholar
- 15.Dy GK, Bekele L, Hanson LJ, Furth A, Mandreakar S, Sloan JA, Adjei AA. Complementary and alternative medicine use by patients enrolled onto phase I clinical trials. J Clin Oncol. 2005;23:248.Google Scholar
- 19.Hyodo I, Amano K, Eguchi K, Narabayashi M, Imanishi J, Harai M, et al. Nationwide survey on complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients in Japan. J Clin Oncol. 2005;25:2645–54.Google Scholar
- 20.Maher EJ, Young T, Feigel I. Complementary therapies used by patients with cancer. Br Med J. 1994;309:671–2.Google Scholar
- 24.Werneke U, Earl J, Seydel C, Horn O, Crichton P, Fannon D. Potential health risks of complementary alternative medicines in cancer patients. Br J Cancer. 2004;91:995–6.Google Scholar
- 25.Chrystal K, Allan S, Forgeson G, Isaacs R. The use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients in a New Zealand regional cancer treatment centre. N Z Med J. 2005;116:U296.Google Scholar
- 26.Bernstein BJ, Grasso T. Prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer patients. Oncology (Huntingt). 2001;15:1267–72.Google Scholar
- 35.Adams KD, Cohen MH, Eisenberg D, Jonsen AR. Ethical consideration of complementary and alternative medical therapies in conventional medical settings. Ann Inter Med. 2002;137:660–4.Google Scholar
- 36.Markman M. Safety issues in using complementary and alternative medicine. J Clin Oncol. 2002;20(18 Suppl):59S-41.Google Scholar