Prevalence of Complementary/Alternative Medicine use in Cancer Patients in a Tertiary Hospital in Puerto Rico

Daniel Torres-Vega, Fernando Cabanillas, Noridza Rivera, Pedro Sollivan, Wandaly Pardo, Caroline Rivera, Muay Hernandez


Objective: We conducted a study in a tertiary hospital to investigate complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) prevalence in a Puerto Rican population. The study also evaluated demographic and clinical factors in order to correlate them with CAM use. Methods: Spanish speaking residents with a known diagnosis of cancer being followed in the outpatient facilities at Auxilio Mutuo Cancer Center were invited to participate in the study. Patients who read and signed a consent form were given a questionnaire inquiring, among various things, on their use of any CAM treatment, education level, gender, place of residence and whether they had consulted their oncologist. The questionnaire also asked about their expectations for use of CAM. Results: 215 patients were approached to participate out of which 200 signed the consent and accepted to participate. A total of 95 of 200 patients (47.5%) mentioned that they utilized at least one CAM treatment. Six factors were then analyzed for their correlation with CAM usage and three yielded statistically significant results at p<.05: age group, education level, and area of residence. After multivariate analysis all of these three factors behaved as independent variables. Gender, tumor type and stage were not significantly associated with use of CAM. Conclusion: Our data show that CAM use is significantly more common in those with higher education, younger age, and those living in non-metropolitan areas. Vitamin C and soursop (Graviola or guanĂ¡bana) proved to be the two most common CAM treatments, respectively.


Alternative Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Vitamin C, Turmeric

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