A third of cancer patients in a new study said they used herbal medicines, chiropractic massage or other alternative remedies, but many kept this secret from their doctor.
Of the cancer patients and survivors who said they used complementary or alternative medicines (CAMs), 29 per cent said they didn’t tell their doctor, the University of Texas-led study found.
“Herbal supplements were the most common example, used by 35.8 per cent of the CAM users, followed by chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation of the spine or joints, used by 25.4 per cent.”
A recent UK study found 34 per cent of cancer patients use dietary supplements, some of which might interact with prescribed cancer treatments, Professor Ernst said. “We also know that many patients fail to inform their oncology team about this.”
He said some treatments might cause direct harm and others could interact with the prescribed treatments and might render them less effective.
Among the 3,118 current and past patients in the University of Texas study, published in the journal JAMA Oncology, more than 1,000 said they had used CAMs in the past 12 months.
Herbal supplements were the most common example, used by 35.8 per cent of the CAM users, followed by chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation of the spine or joints, used by 25.4 per cent.
Other therapies included yoga and massage (7.6 per cent and 14.1 per cent respectively). Acupuncture, special diets and homeopathy were each used by less than 3 per cent of CAM users.
While patients were more likely to disclose if they were taking a herbal remedy than if they were doing yoga, one in 10 supplement takers didn’t tell their doctors.