Article

Treatment delay associated with alternative medicine use among veterans with head and neck cancer

Department of Health Services, University of Washington Seattle, Seattle, Washington, United States
Head & Neck (Impact Factor: 2.64). 10/2006; 28(10):926-31. DOI: 10.1002/hed.20420
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing in the United States. This study investigates whether the use of alternative medicine is associated with a delay of treatment in head and neck cancer.
This study used the records obtained from a large trial involving ambulatory care US veterans. Subjects completed a CAM utilization questionnaire. The primary outcome variable was the time duration from cancer diagnosis to the time of cancer treatment.
Of veterans with head and neck cancer, 51% reported using some form of CAM, whereas 23% reported using a therapy classified as alternative medicine. Patients who used alternative medicine significantly delayed cancer treatment by 22 days compared with those who did not use alternative medicine (p = .05, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0-44 days).
CAM use is common in veterans with head and neck cancer. Use of alternative medicine was associated with a significant delay in cancer treatment.

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    • "However, the potential for harmful drug: CAM product interactions exists. There was a report showing that the use of CAM is also associated with a significant delay in cancer treatment [20]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction. Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cancer patients is increasingly acceptable worldwide, but most of the studies were surveyed from developed countries. In this study, we evaluated the first and large cohort of cancer patients with CAM use in Thailand. Materials and Methods. A self-administered questionnaire was completed by 248 cancer patients attending outpatient radiotherapy unit at Ramathibodi Hospital. Results. The prevalence of CAM use was 60.9%. The most frequently used CAM were dietary/vitamin supplements (56.9%). Independent predictors of CAM use were high income (P < 0.001) and cancer type (P = 0.019). About half of the patients (51%) reported positive effects from CAM use. Nevertheless, 9.4% of the patient also reported side effects. The majority of patients (58.3%) did not disclose their use of CAM to their doctors because they felt that it was not necessary for doctors to know (65.9%). The average spending for CAM use was 200 USD/month (range, 10-1,000). Conclusion. Although the cost for CAM is relatively expensive, the prevalence of CAM use in cancer patients in Thailand is high particularly, in patients with higher income. Therefore, all clinical oncologists should be concerned about the use of CAM during evaluation of the cancer patients.
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