Use of non-conventional medicine two years after cancer diagnosis in France: evidence from the VICAN survey
The purpose of this study was to assess the use of non-conventional medicine (NCM) in a representative sample of French patients 2 years after cancer diagnosis.
The study was based on data obtained in the VICAN survey (2012) on a representative sample of 4349 patients 2 years after cancer diagnosis. Self-reported data were collected at telephone interviews with patients. The questionnaire addressed the various types of non-conventional treatments used at the time of the survey.
Among the participants, 16.4% reported that they used NCM, and 45.3% of this group had not used NCM before cancer diagnosis (new NCM users). Commonly, NCMs used were homeopathy (64.0%), acupuncture (22.1%), osteopathy (15.1%), herbal medicine (8.1%), diets (7.3%) and energy therapies (5.8%). NCM use was found to be significantly associated with younger age, female gender and a higher education level. Previous NCM use was significantly associated with having a managerial occupation and an expected 5-year survival rate ≥80% at diagnosis; recent NCM use was associated with cancer progression since diagnosis, impaired quality of life and higher pain reports.
This is the first study on NCM use 2 years after cancer diagnosis in France. In nearly half of the NCM users, cancer diagnosis was one of the main factors which incited patients to use NCM. Apart from the NCM users’ socioeconomic profile, the present results show that impaired health was a decisive factor: opting for unconventional approaches was therefore a pragmatic response to needs which conventional medicine fails to meet during the course of the disease.
Implications for Cancer Survivors
Better information of patients and caregivers is needed to allow access to these therapies to a larger population of survivors.
KeywordsComplementary and alternative medicine Integrative medicine Cancer survivors Cohort study Coping France
- 1.National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Expanding horizons of healthcare: five-year strategic plan 2001–2005. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health, Editor. 2000.Google Scholar
- 2.National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/integrative-health#types. Accessed 10 Jan 2017.
- 9.Pedersen CG, Christensen S, Jensen AB, et al. Prevalence, socio-demographic and clinical predictors of post-diagnostic utilisation of different types of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in a nationwide cohort of Danish women treated for primary breast cancer. Eur J Cancer. 2009;45(18):3172–81.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 11.Deng GE, Rausch SM, Jones LW, et al. Complementary therapies and integrative medicine in lung cancer: Diagnosis and management of lung cancer, 3rd ed: American College of Chest Physicians evidence-based clinical practice guidelines. Chest. 2013;143(5 Suppl):e420S–36S. doi:10.1378/chest.12-2364.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 17.Bouhnik AD, Bendiane MK, Cortaredona, et al. The labour market, psychosocial outcomes and health conditions in cancer survivors: protocol for a nationwide longitudinal survey 2 and 5 years after cancer diagnosis (the VICAN survey). BMJ Open. 2015;5(3):e005971.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 23.Horner MJ, Ries LAG, Krapcho M, et al. SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975–2006. July 2009. https://seer.cancer.gov/archive/csr/1975_2006/#contents. Accessed 10 Jan 2017.
- 24.Lanoë JL, Makdessi-Reynaud Y. L’état de santé en France en 2003: santé perçue, morbidité déclarée et recours aux soins à travers l’enquête décennale santé. Etudes et. 2005;436:1–12.Google Scholar
- 25.Bouhnik AD, Préau M, Schlitz MA, et al. Unsafe sex with casual partners and quality of life among HIV-infected gay men: evidence from a large representative sample of outpatients attending French hospitals (ANRS-EN12-VESPA). J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2006;42(5):597–603.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 42.Cohen P, Sarradon-Eck A, Schmitz O, et al. Cancer et pluralisme thérapeutique: Enquête auprès des malades et des institutions médicales en France, Belgique et Suisse. Paris: L’Harmattan; 2016.Google Scholar
- 44.Astin JA: Why patients use alternative medicine: results of a national study. JAMA,1998;279(19): 1548–53.Google Scholar
- 45.Clarke TC, Black LI, Stussman BJ et al.: Trends in the use of complementary health approaches among adults: United States, 2002–2012. National Health Statistices Reports, 2015 (79) https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr079.pdf. Accessed 10 Jan 2017.Google Scholar
- 54.Elziere P: Des médecines dites naturelles. Sciences Sociales et Santé, 1986;IV(2): 39–74.Google Scholar
- 55.Laplantine F, Rabeyron PL: Les médecines parallèles, ed. Q. Sais-J. 1987.Google Scholar
- 71.Begot AC. Médecines parallèles et cancer: Une étude sociologique. Paris: L’Harmattan; 2010.Google Scholar