Although almost half (48 percent) of cancer patients treated withchemotherapy and radiation are using at least one type of complementaryand alternative medical therapy (CAM) treatment, a majority of them (75percent) don't tell their doctor, even while receiving conventionalcancer treatment, according to a study presented October 16, 2005, atthe American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology's 47thAnnual Meeting in Denver.
The study shows that CAM use is almost twice as prevalent amongpatients treated by only chemotherapy (65 percent), compared to thosetreated by only radiation (35 percent). Most (88 percent) of patientsare satisfied with using CAM as a cost-effective method of cancertreatment and use an average of two CAM treatments, with vitamin,herbal and botanical supplements being the most popular therapies. Onlya little more than a third (36 percent) of them say their doctors werean important source of information on CAM.
"This study shows the significant lack of communication betweenpatients and their doctors about the use of complementary andalternative medicines, like vitamins and herbs," said Neha Vapiwala,M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at theUniversity of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "It's important for doctorsto know about their patients' CAM use and to understand patients'reasons for using it, so that they can better tailor and optimizetreatment regimens and improve patient quality of life during radiationand/or chemotherapy."
The study asked 487 cancer patients at a clinic and over the Internet about their CAM use from July to September, 2004.
For more on radiation therapy, visit www.rtanswers.org.
ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with morethan 8,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiationtherapies. As a leading organization in radiation oncology, biology andphysics, the Society is dedicated to the advancement of the practice ofradiation oncology by promoting excellence in patient care, providingopportunities for educational and professional development, promotingresearch and disseminating research results and representing radiationoncology in a rapidly evolving socioeconomic healthcare environment.
Materials provided by American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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