Use of Complementary Therapies Among Breast and Prostate Cancer Patients During Treatment: A Multisite Study

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Purpose:The purpose of this study was to compare the use of complementary therapies (CT) among breast and prostate cancer patients during active cancer treatment. The authors compared use and beliefs about the role of CT in cancer recovery.Methods:A self-report survey was completed by 126 breast cancer patients and 82 prostate cancer patients as part of a multisite research project. The self-report questionnaire inquired about the use of various CTs, sources of information about CT, reasons for using CT, beliefs about the benefits and risks of CT, demographic characteristics, and cancer treatment history.Results:Most of the respondents were older than 50 years, Caucasian, married, had attended or completed college, and were less than 1 year postdiagnosis. Prostate cancer patients were significantly older than the breast cancer patients (P< .001). Several differences emerged between the groups. Compared to the prostate cancer patients, significantly more of the breast cancer patients reported using CT because they wanted to reduce the risk of recurrence (P< .01), play a more active role in recovery (P< .01), help manage stress (P< .01), take a more holistic approach (P< .01), or boost the immune system (P< .01). More of the prostate cancer patients reported using CT to have more control of their recovery (P< .05). The 2 groups also differed significantly (P< .01) on several beliefs about the potential benefits and risks of using CT.Conclusions:Most of the patients in this study had used some form of CT since the time of their diagnosis. Differences among breast and prostate cancer patients with regard to their use of CT during cancer treatment should be considered by oncology professionals who are discussing this topic with their patients.

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Integrative Cancer Therapies, v. 4, issue 4, p. 294-300