Complementary, alternative medicine may have higher risk for excessive bleeding during breast cancer surgery

the ONA take:

The popularity and increased use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by cancer patients is something that oncologists should be aware of because of the side effects that can occur and subsequently impact treatment for the disease.

In a recent study published in the journal Integrative Cancer Therapies, researchers from institutions in Washington state looked at a sample of 98 women with breast cancer who received integrative (CAM) therapy and compared them to a larger group of women with similar demographics and disease characteristics, but who did not receive CAM.

The results of the study, which focused on women with breast cancer who reported both an initial surgery for their cancer and who also reported using garlic, ginseng, cranberry, gingko, vitamin E, and fish or flaxseed oil, at the time of their initial surgery, showed that 16% reported using one or more herbs or supplements thought to potentially increase their risk for adverse bleeding-related outcomes at the time of their primary surgical treatment.

This number does not include the 22% of patients who reported using fish or flaxseed oil, which were once thought to increase the risk for excessive bleeding but have since been proven safe in that regard. The authors cautioned that further research is needed to better understand the risks associated with use of a variety of herbs and supplements among women approaching surgery.

Complementary, alternative medicine may have higher risk for excessive bleeding during breast cancer
Breast cancer patients using herbal supplements had increased risk for adverse bleeding-related outcomes.
This study describes a cross–sectional survey of women with breast cancer to describe their use of herbs and supplements that might have placed them at elevated risk for bleeding at the time of their primary treatment surgery for breast cancer. Further research is needed to better understand the risks associated with use of a variety of herbs and supplements among women approaching surgery.
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