Alternative therapies are popular among breast cancer patients

Women recovering from breast cancer choose biological-based therapies, according to findings published in Nursing Research (2010 Jan-Feb;59(1):58-66).

When Gwen Wyatt of Michigan State University's College of Nursing analyzed five major categories of therapies, including biological, mind-body, manipulative and body, energy and alternative medical systems, she found that among more than 200 women, 57% were using these therapies and that the sicker a woman was, the more likely she was to use multiple therapies.

After biological-based therapies, Wyatt reported that the next most popular therapy was mind-body therapies using audiotapes, video, and music therapy. The study also revealed that the therapies with the highest mean spending were used by very few women, while vitamins, massage, and homeopathy were frequently used. Additionally, women reported greater use of therapies that required fewer sessions.

“Women are using these therapies, but they have little education about safety and efficacy,” Wyatt stated. “One report indicates up to 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are using CAM therapies.”

According to the press release announcing the findings, Wyatt is using the results of the study in order to help women identify which therapies will be most effective for them.

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