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CAM for Cancer Patients

Perhaps, because of my experience in a variety of practice settings and in research, a recent article caught my attention. The article, published in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, describes a survey of patients at a regional outpatient cancer center in Australia quantifying patient’s use of and attitudes toward complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies while undergoing outpatient cancer treatment (1). The study was conducted to help inform the development of an integrative care program at a cancer treatment center.
A cancer diagnosis does not confer immunity from musculoskeletal conditions and patients undergoing cancer treatment may indeed benefit from chiropractic and other forms of care. Forty-nine percent of patients undergoing outpatient cancer treatment also utilized CAM providers outside the center. The most popular therapies were herbal and vitamin/mineral supplements and manipulative/body-based methods like chiropractic and massage. CAM use appeared associated with high patient acceptance and satisfaction. Learning about how cancer patients utilize non-cancer oriented treatments will help inform how patients can benefit from integrated care teams.
Reference List
(1) Wilkinson JM, Stevens MJ. Use of complementary and alternative medical therapies (CAM) by patients attending a regional comprehensive cancer care centre. J Complement Integr Med 2014 Apr 3.

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