Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in breast cancer patients and their experiences: A cross-sectional study

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University Clinic Freiburg, Hugstetter Str. 55, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany.
European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990) (Impact Factor: 5.42). 05/2012; 48(17). DOI: 10.1016/j.ejca.2012.04.021
Source: PubMed


Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) refers to various treatments not considered as part of conventional care. CAM is used by a high number of breast cancer patients. This is a cross-sectional study employing a validated questionnaire with the aim of studying CAM use and of exploring the needs of information and communication in female breast cancer patients. Experiences associated with discussing CAM within a conventional oncology setting were examined. Answers of patients not using CAM were also elicited. Predictors for CAM use were a higher degree of education and being of a younger age. The study demonstrated that patients were reluctant to initiate communication within standard oncology care. They rather relied on family and friends (49%), on the general practitioner (40%) or media sources (39%) for information. Reasons for not talking about CAM were not having been asked (25%) or not having perceived the inpatient physician to be the adequate person to talk to (11%). Reasons for not using CAM were mainly considering conventional therapy as sufficient (34%) and not having thought about CAM (31%). Particularly within conventional oncological care it is important to train physicians to have knowledge of supportive CAM options as this is what patients look for, but restrain from seeking within the speciality system.

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    • "In fact, many molecules within GbE have been shown to exhibit pharmacological properties such as cell cycle regulatory, antioxidant, anti-proliferative, anti-angiogenic and anti-estrogenic activities [21]. As GbE is used extensively as a CAM [17] and is used by breast cancer patients undergoing treatment with TAM [22], the present study was designed to investigate the effects of Ginkgo biloba extract in a chemically induced mammary tumor model in female SD rats treated with Tamoxifen. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Ginkgo biloba extract (GbE) is used extensively by breast cancer patients undergoing treatment with Tamoxifen (TAM). Thus, the present study investigated the effects of GbE in female Sprague–Dawley (SD) rats bearing chemically-induced mammary tumors and receiving TAM. Methods Animals bearing mammary tumors (≥1 cm in diameter) were divided into four groups: TAM [10 mg/kg, intragastrically (i.g.)], TAM plus GbE [50 and 100 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (i.p.)] or an untreated control group. After 4 weeks, the therapeutic efficacy of the different treatments was evaluated by measuring the tumor volume (cm3) and the proportions of each tumor that were alive, necrotic or degenerative (mm2). In addition, labeling indexes (LI%) were calculated for cell proliferation (PCNA LI%) and apoptosis (cleaved caspase-3 LI%), expression of estrogen receptor-alpha (ER-α) and p63 biomarkers. Results Overall, the tumor volume and the PCNA LI% within live tumor areas were reduced by 83% and 99%, respectively, in all TAM-treated groups when compared to the untreated control group. GbE treatment (100 mg/kg) reduced the proportions of live (24.8%) and necrotic areas (2.9%) (p = 0.046 and p = 0.038, respectively) and significantly increased the proportion of degenerative areas (72.9%) (p = 0.004) in mammary tumors when compared to the group treated only with TAM. The expression of ER-α, p63 and cleaved caspase-3 in live tumor tissues was not modified by GbE treatment. Conclusions Co-treatment with 100 mg/kg GbE presented a slightly beneficial effect on the therapeutic efficacy of TAM in female SD rats bearing mammary tumors.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    • "Younger, highly educated women have been described as the most frequent users of CAM [4, 8, 10–12]. Frequent use has also been reported among patients with symptoms related to their cancer, patients receiving only palliative treatment, patients with metastatic disease, and patients diagnosed with cancer more than three months previously [13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The associations for CAM use are only occasionally differentiated by gender in populations where both male and female cancer survivors occur. The aim of this study is to describe the prevalence of CAM use in individuals with a previous cancer diagnosis and to investigate gender differences regard to factors associated with use. A total of 12982 men and women filled in a questionnaire with questions about life style and health issues. Eight hundred of those had a previous cancer diagnosis of whom 630 answered three questions concerning CAM use in the last 12 months. A total of 33.8% of all cancer survivors reported CAM use, 39.4% of the women and 27.9% of the men (P < 0.01). The relationship between the demographic variables and being a CAM user differed significantly between men and women with regard to age (P = 0.03), education (P = 0.04), and income (P < 0.01). Female CAM users were more likely to have a university degree than the nonusers, while male CAM users were more likely to have a lower income than the nonusers. According to this study, prevalence and factors associated with CAM use differ significantly between male and female survivors of cancer.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    ABSTRACT: Physalin F (a secosteroid derivative), is well recognized as a potent anticancer compound from Physalis minima L., a plant that is traditionally used to treat cancer. However, the exact molecular anticancer mechanism remains to be elucidated. We have recently reported the apoptosis-based cytotoxic effect of the chloroform extract of this plant. Here, we investigated the cytotoxicity and possible cell death mechanism elicited by the active constituent, physalin F on human breast T-47D carcinoma. Cytotoxic-guided fractionation of the chloroform extract of Physalis minima has led to the isolation of physalin F. The cytotoxicity activity was assayed using MTS assay. The effect of the compound to induce apoptosis was determined by biochemical and morphological observations through DeadEnd Colorimetric and annexin V assays, respectively, and RT-PCR analysis of mRNA expression of the apoptotic-associated genes. Cytotoxicity screening of physalin F displayed a remarkable dose-dependant inhibitory effect on T-47D cells with lower EC50 value (3.60μg/ml) than the crude extract. mRNA expression analysis revealed the co-regulation of c-myc- and caspase-3-apoptotic genes in the treated cells with the peak expression at 9 and 12 hours of treatment, respectively. This apoptotic mechanism is reconfirmed by DNA fragmentation and phosphatidylserine externalization. These findings indicate that physalin F may potentially act as a chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic agent by triggering apoptosis mechanism via the activation of caspase-3 and c-myc pathways in T-47D cells.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2013 · Journal of ethnopharmacology
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