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      Use of Chinese medicine by cancer patients: a review of surveys

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      Chinese Medicine

      BioMed Central

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          Abstract

          Chinese medicine has been used to treat a variety of cancer-related conditions. This study aims to examine the prevalence and patterns of Chinese medicine usage by cancer patients. We reviewed articles written in English and found only the Chinese medicine usage from the studies on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Seventy four (74) out of 81 articles reported rates of CAM usage ranging from 2.6 to 100%. Acupuncture was reported in 71 out of 81 studies. Other less commonly reported modalities included Qigong ( n = 17), Chinese herbal medicine ( n = 11), Taichi ( n = 10), acupressure ( n = 6), moxibustion ( n = 2), Chinese dietary therapy ( n = 1), Chinese massage ( n = 1), cupping ( n = 1) and other Chinese medicine modalities ( n = 19). This review also found important limitations of the English language articles on CAM usage in cancer patients. Our results show that Chinese medicine, in particular Chinese herbal medicine, is commonly used by cancer patients. Further research is warranted to include studies not written in English.

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          Use of complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients: a European survey.

          The aim of this study was to explore the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in cancer patients across a number of European countries. A descriptive survey design was developed. Fourteen countries participated in the study and data was collected through a descriptive questionnaire from 956 patients. Data suggest that CAM is popular among cancer patients with 35.9% using some form of CAM (range among countries 14.8% to 73.1%). A heterogeneous group of 58 therapies were identified as being used. Herbal medicines and remedies were the most commonly used CAM therapies, together with homeopathy, vitamins/minerals, medicinal teas, spiritual therapies and relaxation techniques. Herbal medicine use tripled from use before diagnosis to use since diagnosis with cancer. Multivariate analysis suggested that the profile of the CAM user was that of younger people, female and with higher educational level. The source of information was mainly from friends/family and the media, while physicians and nurses played a small part in providing CAM-related information. The majority used CAM to increase the body's ability to fight cancer or improve physical and emotional well-being, and many seemed to have benefited from using CAM (even though the benefits were not necessarily related to the initial reason for using CAM). Some 4.4% of patients, however, reported side-effects, mostly transient. It is imperative that health professionals explore the use of CAM with their cancer patients, educate them about potentially beneficial therapies in light of the limited available evidence of effectiveness, and work towards an integrated model of health-care provision.
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            The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) statement: guidelines for reporting observational studies.

            Much biomedical research is observational. The reporting of such research is often inadequate, which hampers the assessment of its strengths and weaknesses and of a study's generalizability. The Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) Initiative developed recommendations on what should be included in an accurate and complete report of an observational study. We defined the scope of the recommendations to cover three main study designs: cohort, case-control and cross-sectional studies. We convened a two-day workshop, in September 2004, with methodologists, researchers and journal editors to draft a checklist of items. This list was subsequently revised during several meetings of the coordinating group and in e-mail discussions with the larger group of STROBE contributors, taking into account empirical evidence and methodological considerations. The workshop and the subsequent iterative process of consultation and revision resulted in a checklist of 22 items (the STROBE Statement) that relate to the title, abstract, introduction, methods, results and discussion sections of articles. Eighteen items are common to all three study designs and four are specific for cohort, case-control, or cross-sectional studies. A detailed Explanation and Elaboration document is published separately and is freely available on the web sites of PLoS Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology. We hope that the STROBE Statement will contribute to improving the quality of reporting of observational studies.
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              Perspectives for cancer prevention with natural compounds.

              Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Despite the estimated 565,650 deaths in 2008 of Americans as a result of cancer, it is mostly a preventable disease. Simply by modification of diet, maintenance of optimum body weight, and regular physical activity, 30% to 40% of all instances of cancer could be prevented. Modification of diet alone by increasing vegetable and fruit intake could prevent 20% or more of all cases of cancer and may potentially prevent approximately 200,000 cancer-related deaths annually. Because of their safety, low toxicity, antioxidant properties, and general acceptance as dietary supplements, fruits, vegetables, and other dietary elements (phytochemicals and minerals) are being investigated for the prevention of cancer. Extensive research over the past several decades has identified numerous dietary and botanical natural compounds that have chemopreventive potential. In this review, we discuss promising natural chemopreventive compounds, their molecular targets, and their mechanisms, which may help the further design and conduct of preclinical and clinical trials.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Chin Med
                Chinese Medicine
                BioMed Central
                1749-8546
                2011
                9 June 2011
                : 6
                : 22
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Centre for Complementary Medicine Research, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith South DC 2751, New South Wales, Australia
                Article
                1749-8546-6-22
                10.1186/1749-8546-6-22
                3148205
                21651825
                Copyright ©2011 Carmady and Smith; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Review

                Complementary & Alternative medicine

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