Study finds 40 percent of patients with glial tumors report complementary therapy use

Tuesday, December 14, 2010 (Last Updated: 12/15/2010)

TUESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Many individuals with glial tumors use alternative therapies in combination with standard treatments, according to a study published in the Dec. 14 issue of Neurology.

In an observational study, Oliver Heese, M.D., of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, and colleagues evaluated 621 questionnaires from patients with glial tumors of grade II to grade IV recruited from six neuro-oncologic centers in Germany.

The investigators found that 40 percent of patients reported the use of complementary therapies, with younger individuals, women, and those with more education more likely to use complementary therapies. The most common reasons for using alternative treatments were "to support the conventional therapy," "to build up body resistance," and "to do something for the treatment by myself." The authors note that 39.2 percent of patients reported using homeopathy, 31 percent reported using vitamin supplements, and 29 percent reported using psychological approaches.

"In clinical practice, patients' use of complementary therapies may be largely overseen and underestimated. The major motivation is not distrust in conventional therapies. Neuro-oncologists should be aware of this phenomenon and encourage an open but critical dialogue with their patients," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical and/or medical device companies.

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Specialties Neurology
Hematology & Oncology

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