Why do cancer patients turn to alternative medicine? (Meeting abstract).

Journal/Book: Workshop: Goals of Palliative Cancer Therapies. March 23-26, 1992,Reisensburg Castle, Germany, 1992..

Abstract: 160 patients (pts; 53.3%) responded to an anonymous questionnairedistributed to 300 consecutive pts of our outpatient oncology clinic. 83pts (52%) declared to have some experience with one or more alternativemethods of cancer treatment. Most often cited were various herbal teas(35), beet juice (16), plant extracts from Vogel (15), imposition ofhand (14), homeopathic medicine (13), the mistletoe extract Iscador(13), magnetopathy (12), various diets (10), acupuncture (10) andpsychological methods (9x). Use of alternative methods of treatmentsignificantly correlated with a younger age (51.5 yr vs 59.8 yr, p =0.001). The reasons for using alternative medicine were the desire to doeverything possible to regain health (49), to use also one'spsychological forces (35), reports of successfully cured cancer pts(28), the desire for a holistic approach (23), the hope for a medicinewithout side effects (18) and only in 7 cases disappointment ofconventional university medicine. The most important source ofinformation were relatives and friends, not the mass media. Thephysician should be aware of the locally available options ofalternative medicine and be able to inform his pts. He should alsorecognize and meet the pt's underlying desires for a better control ofhis disease and a more holistic approach of care. Author.