Proportion of Gynecologic Cancer Patients Using Complementary and Alternative


Background and objectives: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for treatment of cancer andfor supportive care of cancer patients must be clearly separated. There is encouraging evidence for CAM in thelatter area, such as acupuncture and progressive muscle relaxation for chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting,and aromatherapy for decreasing anxiety and increasing quality of life. However, there are limited data aboutCAM used by gynecologic cancer patients, especially in Thai women. Therefore, the authors aimed to investigatethe proportion and types of CAM using in our gynecologic cancer patients.
Methods: This cross-sectional surveywas conducted between October to December, 2008. Totals of 50 admitted and 50 walk-in gynecologic cancerpatients 1-month after diagnosis, aged more than 20 years and able to give informed consent, were selected forone-by-one interview by random walking survey.
Results: Among the 100 interviewed patients, aged 21-69(mean=50.12), there were 46 cases of cervical cancers, 35 of ovarian cancers, 18 of endometrial cancers (two ofthese also had ovarian cancers), 2 of malignant gestational trophoblastic diseases, 1 of vulvar cancer, and 1 livercancer (in a patient with ovarian cancer). Some 67% (95% CI, 57.8-76.2%) of them used CAM. As dietmodifications, 11 used Chinese vegetarian, 8 common vegetarian, 5 Cheewajit, and 1 macrobiotics. Five ofthem used dietary supplements while colonic detoxification was emplyed in three. As herbal medicines, 27 usedThai herbs, 4 Chinese herbs, and 1 a herbal sauna. Twelve were receiving Thai massage. As exercises, 23 usedaerobics and 5 stretching. Interestingly, 62 of them used Buddhist praying while only 3 employed native magic.
Conclusions: The three most common forms of CAM used by our gynecologic cancer patients were Buddhistpraying (62/67, 92.5%), followed by herbal medicines (27/67, 40.3%) and exercises (25/67, 37.3%).