Complementary and Alternative Therapies Used by Turkish Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy

Can G., Demir M., Aydiner A.

BREAST CARE, vol.7, no.6, pp.471-475, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Doi Number: 10.1159/000345462
  • Journal Name: BREAST CARE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.471-475
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Most breast cancer patients use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), usually in parallel with their conventional treatments. This study was planned to determine the prevalence and determining factors for use of CAM by breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Patients and Methods: This descriptive study was carried out between October 2010 and May 2011, and included 96 patients at the Istanbul University Institute of Oncology. The Patient Characteristics form and Complementary and Alternative Medicine Scale were used for data collection. Descriptive and non-parametric tests were performed, and logistic regression analysis was used to predict factors affecting CAM use. Results: Praying was the most frequently used form of CAM, and most of the herbal supplements used by patients were harmless. Herbal use was higher among patients who had local disease (relative risk (RR) 4.48%, 95% confidence interval (Cl) 1.12-17.95), and worship was more common among those who had not undergone surgery (RR 4.66%, 95% Cl 1.64-13.20). Conclusion: The CAM approaches used by patients were found to be safe. However, sage and flax seed usage for estrogen-and progesterone-positive patients and exercise for patients with spinal metastasis can be inappropriate approaches. It is important to question and inform patients about CAM use during treatment.