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Eur J Cancer. 1998 Feb; 34(3): 324-8.

The use of complementary therapies by breast cancer patients attending conventional treatment.

Crocetti E, Crotti N, Feltrin A, Ponton P, Geddes M, Buiatti E.

U.O. di Epidemiologia, CSPO, Azienda Ospedaliera Careggi, Firenze, Italy.

The aim of this study was to measure the proportion and characteristics of complementary therapy (CT) users among female breast cancer patients receiving conventional treatment. 473 women who had received surgical intervention for breast cancer in the year of diagnosis were sent a questionnaire for completion, and 242 responded. CT had been used by 16.5% after cancer diagnosis, only 8.7% before. The most commonly used CTs were homeopathy, manual healing method, herbalism and acupuncture. The main reason for using CTs was physical distress. Only a minority was searching for psychological support. 24 users were satisfied with these treatments, and two-thirds would suggest them. Users were significantly younger, more educated, and previous users of CTs than non-users. Adjusting each variable for the effect of the others, only previous use had an independent effect on increasing the probability of being users after cancer diagnosis.


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