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      Use of Chinese Herb Medicine in Cancer Patients: A Survey in Southwestern China

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          Abstract

          Chinese herb medicine (CHM) is the most commonly reported traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) modality. This study aimed to assess the prevalence and associated factors of CHM use in cancer patients in southwestern China. Cancer patients from eleven comprehensive cancer centers were asked to complete a structured questionnaire. Of 587 available replies, 53.0% used CHM. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that educational level, stage of disease, duration of cancer since diagnosis, marital status, and previous use of CHM were strongly associated with CHM use after cancer diagnosis. The source of information about CHM was mainly from media and friends/family. CHM products were used without any consultation with a TCM practitioner by 67.5% of users. The majority used CHM to improve their physical and emotional well-beings and to reduce cancer therapy-induced toxicities. About 4.5% patients reported side effects of CHM. This survey revealed a high prevalence of CHM use among cancer patients. However, these patients did not get sufficient consultation about the indications and contradictions of these drugs. It is imperative for oncologists to communicate with their cancer patients about the usage of CHM so as to avoid the potential side effects.

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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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            Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Comparative Overview

            Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicine (TIM) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) remain the most ancient yet living traditions. There has been increased global interest in traditional medicine. Efforts to monitor and regulate herbal drugs and traditional medicine are underway. China has been successful in promoting its therapies with more research and science-based approach, while Ayurveda still needs more extensive scientific research and evidence base. This review gives an overview of basic principles and commonalities of TIM and TCM and discusses key determinants of success, which these great traditions need to address to compete in global markets.
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              Complementary/alternative medicine use in a comprehensive cancer center and the implications for oncology.

              Oncologists are aware that their patients use complementary/alternative medicine (CAM). As cancer incidence rates and survival time increase, use of CAM will likely increase. This study assessed the prevalence and predictors of CAM use in a comprehensive cancer center. Subjects were English-speaking cancer patients at least 18 years of age, attending one of eight outpatient clinics at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, between December 1997 and June 1998. After giving written informed consent, participants completed a self-administered questionnaire. Differences between CAM users and nonusers were assessed by chi(2) and univariate logistic regression analysis. A multivariate logistic regression model identified the simultaneous impact of demographic, clinical, and treatment variables on CAM use; P values were two-sided. Of the 453 participants (response rate, 51.4%), 99.3% had heard of CAM. Of those, 83.3% had used at least one CAM approach. Use was greatest for spiritual practices (80.5%), vitamins and herbs (62.6%), and movement and physical therapies (59.2%) and predicted (P <.001) by sex (female), younger age, indigent pay status, and surgery. After excluding spiritual practices and psychotherapy, 95.8% of participants were aware of CAM and 68.7% of those had used CAM. Use was predicted (P <.0001) by sex (female), education, and chemotherapy. In most categories, CAM use was common among outpatients. Given the number of patients combining vitamins and herbs with conventional treatments, the oncology community must improve patient-provider communication, offer reliable information to patients, and initiate research to determine possible drug-herb-vitamin interactions.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
                Evid Based Complement Alternat Med
                ECAM
                Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM
                Hindawi Publishing Corporation
                1741-427X
                1741-4288
                2012
                11 September 2012
                11 September 2012
                : 2012
                Affiliations
                1Department of Abdominal Cancer, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Sichuan Province, Chengdu 610041, China
                2Department of Medical Oncology, Teaching Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Sichuan Province, Chengdu 610075, China
                Author notes

                Academic Editor: Arndt Büssing

                Article
                10.1155/2012/769042
                3446813
                22997534
                Copyright © 2012 Tai-Guo Liu et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research Article

                Complementary & Alternative medicine

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