Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among Breast Cancer Survivors


Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is prevalent among individuals with cancer, especiallybreast cancer survivors. This study was conducted among 394 breast cancer survivors in selected regions ofPeninsular Malaysia to identify the pattern and factors associated with CAM use. About 51% of the respondentsreported CAM use as complementary treatment. Vitamins (47.2%), spiritual activities (33.2%) and other dietarysupplements (30.7%) were the most commonly used CAM therapies. Common reasons for CAM use were toincrease the body’s ability to perform daily activities (70.9%), enhance immune function (58.3%) and improveemotional well-being (31.7%). Users obtained CAM information mainly from friends and family members(62.5%), physicians (25.0%) and mass media (13.9%). Ethnicity and years of education were significantlyassociated with CAM use. Although no adverse effects of CAM were reported, breast cancer survivors shoulddiscuss their CAM use with health professionals to prevent potential adverse effects of these therapies.