Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use by Gynecologic Oncology Patients in Turkey


The use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) among women with gynecologic cancer isbecoming increasingly popular. Therefore, it is important to gain insight into the prevalence and factors relatedto the use of CAM. The aim of this study was to assess the use of CAM in women with gynecologic cancer. Thisis a descriptive cross-sectional study. Data were obtained from 67 gynecological cancer patients at gynecologiconcology clinic of a hospital in Turkey between October 2009 to December 2010 using a questionnaire developedspecifically for this study. The instrument included questions on socio-demographic information, disease specificsand complementary and alternative medicine usage. On the basis of women’s responses, all participants weredivided into 2 groups: CAM users and nonusers. The findings indicated that 61.2% of the women reported theuse of 1 or more CAM therapies. There were no significant differences in the sociodemographic and clinicalcharacteristics between CAM users and nonusers (P <0.05). The most frequently used CAM method was herbaltherapy (90.2%) and the second was prayer (41.5%). The main sources of information about CAM were informal(friends/ family members). A considerable proportion (56.1%) of CAM users had discussed their CAM use withtheir physicians or nurses. Turkish women with gynecologic cancer frequently use CAM in addition to standardmedical therapy. Nurses/ oncologists caring for women with gynecologic cancer should initiate a dialogue aboutusage of CAM, discussing the potential adverse effects of CAM and the patient’s therapeutic goals.