The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among Malay Breast Cancer Survivors

Shahril, Mohd Razif (2011) The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among Malay Breast Cancer Survivors. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 17 (1). pp. 50-56. ISSN 1078-6791

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BACKGROUND: A cross-sectional studywas carried out to determine the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use by breast cancer survivors. METHODS: A descriptivesurveydesignwasdeveloped. Information on sociodemographic characteristics, cancer clinical treatment history, and use of CAM were obtained through a modified self-administered questionnaire from 116 Malay breast cancer survivors aged 21 to 67 years who were 2 years postdiagnosis and currently undergoing follow-up treatment at breast cancer clinics at Hospital Kuala Lumpur and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre. RESULTS: Data suggest that 64% of the participants were identified as CAM users; dietary supplements were the most common form used, followed by prayer and Malay traditional medicine. Within the wide range of dietary supplements, multivitamins were most often taken followed by spirulina, vitamin C, evening primrose oil, and herbal products. Contrary to other findings, the CAM users were found to be older, had secondary education levels, and were from middle-income households. However, there was no significant difference between CAM users and nonusers in this study. Family members played an important role as the main source of information along with doctors/health care providers, friends, and printed materials/mass media. The reasons participants gave for using CAM were mainly to assist in healing the body's inner strength, to cure cancer, and to reduce stress. Only half of the participants consulted with their physicians regarding the safety of CAM use. The participants began to use CAM while undergoing clinical treatments. Most of the participants used CAM for more than a year. About RM100 to RM149 (31.88 USD to 47.50 USD at press time) were spent monthly on CAM by 32% of the participants. The CAM use was found to be effective and beneficial for patients' disease states, and they were contented with the usage of the CAM therapies. Multivariate analysis revealed that thedecision to use or not to use CAM was not dependent on sociodemographic background or cancer clinical treatment history. CONCLUSIONS: CAM was commonly used by breast cancer survivors as a coping mechanism to battle the disease.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Faculty / Institute: Faculty Of Health Sciences
Depositing User: Dr Mohd Razif Shahril
Date Deposited: 11 May 2014 07:50
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2015 06:47

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