Appropriate Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Approaches in Gynecologic Cancers
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Gynecologic cancer patients frequently desire alternative and/or complementary interventions or medicines to aid in relief of both cancer-related and treatment-related side effects. Furthermore, women also seek treatment to aid in superior outcomes and cure rates. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that the use of complementary and/or alternative medicine (CAM) is underreported or not discussed with physicians providing cancer care. In gynecologic cancer literature, there is a lack of scientific evidence either supporting or negating CAM. Because of the lack of information available, health care providers do not have good information regarding safety, efficacy, and dose of CAM. This leads to miscommunication or absence of communication between providers and patients. Because patients do use CAM to improve quality of life (QOL) during and after treatment, it would be educational for providers to know the specific QOL deficits among patients that require attention. Thus, with the ultimate goal of improving QOL for gynecologic cancer patients, providers should be pushed to investigate CAM and determine an honest support or rejection of these therapies.
KeywordsComplementary medicine Alternative medicine Gynecologic cancer Ovarian cancer Cervical cancer
References and Recommended Reading
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
- 1.National Institutes of Health: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam. Accessed September 23, 2013.
- 2.American Cancer Society. Available at: http://www.cancer.org. Accessed September 23, 2013.
- 25.•Sweet ES, Standish LJ, Goff BA, et al. Adverse events associated with complementary and alternative medicine use in ovarian cancer patients. Integr Cancer Ther. 2013;12:508–16. This study found the current literature on drug-CAM interactions to be limited, raising concerns about CAM-chemotherapy interactions and its impact on anticipated treatment outcomes given the high percentage of CAM use in ovarian cancer patients.Google Scholar
- 38.Newton MJ, Hayes SC, Janda M, et al. Safety, feasibility and effects of an individualized walking intervention for women undergoing chemotherapy for ovarian cancer: a pilot study. BCM Cancer. 2011;11:389.Google Scholar
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