A total of 172 patients undergoing active cancer treatment were evaluated using a structured questionnaire to record use of and interest in CAM.
More than half of studied patients either used CAM (24.4%) or were interested in these approaches (31.4%).
Cancer patients who used or were interested in CAM tended to be younger than others, were more likely to have progressive cancer, and more often used active coping mechanisms.
CAM users were more likely than nonusers to be women, to have recurrent cancer and to have metastases.
In this study, the use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients was associated with active, positive coping with the disease, rather than distress or poor compliance with conventional treatment. Oncologists should discuss the use and interest in complementary and alternative medicine with their cancer patients to enhance a trustful physician-patient relationship.