Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in cancer patients: An Italian multicenter survey
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Massimiliano Berretta1, Chiara Della Pepa2, Paolo Tralongo3, Alberto Fulvi4, Ferdinando Martellotta1, Arben Lleshi1, Guglielmo Nasti5, Rossella Fisichella6, Carmela Romano5, Chiara De Divitiis5, Rosaria Taibi1, Francesco Fiorica7, Raffaele Di Francia8,9, Anna Di Mari3, Lino Del Pup10, Anna Crispo11, Paolo De Paoli12, Adriano Santorelli13, Vincenzo Quagliariello5, Rosario Vincenzo Iaffaioli5, Umberto Tirelli1, Gaetano Facchini2
1Department of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Institute, Aviano (PN), Italy
2Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Uro-Gynaecological Oncology, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS “Fondazione G. Pascale”, Naples, Italy
3Division of Medical Oncology, “Umberto I” Hospital, Syracuse, Italy
4Department of Medicine and Surgery of Integrated Treatment, Division of Thoracic Oncology, “San Camillo Forlanini” Hospital, Rome, Italy
5Department of Abdominal Oncology, Division of Medical Oncology B, National Cancer Institute, “G. Pascale” Foundation, Naples, Italy
6Department of Surgery, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
7Department of Radiation Oncology University Hospital Ferrara, Division of Radiotherapy, “Arcispedale Sant’Anna” Hospital, Ferrara, Italy
8Department of Hematology, Istituto Nazionale Tumori ‘Fondazione Giovanni Pascale’, IRCCS, Naples, Italy
9Gruppo Oncologico Ricercatori Italiani, GORI, Pordenone, Italy
10Division of Gynaecological Oncology, National Cancer Institute, Aviano (PN), Italy
11Unit of Epidemiology, Struttura Complessa di Statistica Medica, Biometria e Bioinformatica, Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS “Fondazione G. Pascale”, Naples, Italy
12Scientific Directorate, National Cancer Institute, Aviano (PN), Italy
13Department of Plastic Surgery, Regenerative Medicine, Health Park Hospital, Naples, Italy
Massimiliano Berretta, email: email@example.com
Keywords: complementary medicine, alternative medicine, survey, cancer, treatment
Received: October 13, 2016 Accepted: November 20, 2016 Published: December 25, 2016
Introduction: Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) include a wide range of products (herbs, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics) and medical practices, developed outside of the mainstream Western medicine. Patients with cancer are more likely to resort to CAM first or then in their disease history; the potential side effects as well as the costs of such practices are largely underestimated.
Patients and method: We conducted a descriptive survey in five Italian hospitals involving 468 patients with different malignancies. The survey consisted of a forty-two question questionnaire, patients were eligible if they were Italian-speaking and receiving an anticancer treatment at the time of the survey or had received an anticancer treatment no more than three years before participating in the survey.
Results: Of our patients, 48.9% said they use or have recently used CAM. The univariate analysis showed that female gender, high education, receiving treatment in a highly specialized institute and receiving chemotherapy are associated with CAM use; at the multivariate analysis high education (Odds Ratio, (OR): 1.96 95% Confidence Interval, CI, 1.27-3.05) and receiving treatment in a specialized cancer center (OR: 2.75 95% CI, 1.53-4.94) were confirmed as risk factors for CAM use.
Conclusion: Roughly half of our patients receiving treatment for cancer use CAM. It is necessary that health professional explore the use of CAM with their cancer patients, educate them about potentially beneficial therapies in light of the limited available evidence of effectiveness, and work towards an integrated model of health-care provision.
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