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Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine among Breast Cancer Survivors

  • Saibul, Nurfaizah (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Putra Malaysia) ;
  • Shariff, Zalilah Mohd (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Putra Malaysia) ;
  • Rahmat, Asmah (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Putra Malaysia) ;
  • Sulaiman, Suhaina (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, University Kebangsaan Malaysia) ;
  • Yaw, Yong Heng (Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Putra Malaysia)
  • Published : 2012.08.31

Abstract

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use is prevalent among individuals with cancer, especially breast cancer survivors. This study was conducted among 394 breast cancer survivors in selected regions of Peninsular Malaysia to identify the pattern and factors associated with CAM use. About 51% of the respondents reported CAM use as complementary treatment. Vitamins (47.2%), spiritual activities (33.2%) and other dietary supplements (30.7%) were the most commonly used CAM therapies. Common reasons for CAM use were to increase the body's ability to perform daily activities (70.9%), enhance immune function (58.3%) and improve emotional 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 significantly associated with CAM use. Although no adverse effects of CAM were reported, breast cancer survivors should discuss their CAM use with health professionals to prevent potential adverse effects of these therapies.

Keywords

Breast cancer survivors;CAM;ethnicity;years of education;Malaysia

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