Complementary and alternative modalities used by women with female-specific cancers

Date

2007-05

Authors

Eschiti, Valerie S.

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Abstract

In this cross-sectional, retrospective, explanatory secondary analysis of the 2002 National Health Interview Survey, complementary and alternative modality (CAM) use and high-risk CAM use by women with female-specific cancers is described. Review of CAM literature was employed to compare CAM use by these women to other groups. Based on a purposive sample of 689 women in the United States with female-specific cancers, this sample is representative of 4,128,720 women. Of these, 3,341,373 (80.9%) used CAM therapies. There were 1,030,941 women (25%) who used high risk CAM therapies, such as herbs and megavitamins, which may interact negatively with Western biomedical treatments.

Personal factors associated with those who used CAM include presence of pain and depression/anxiety. Personal factors associated with those who used high-risk CAM include younger age, more comorbidities, presence of pain, being married, higher education, lower income, and being Non-Hispanic ethnicity of races other than Black or White. Having two or more types of female-specific cancers was associated with the use of alternative medical systems.

CAM use by the women was found to be similar to that of those in other groups. However, some differences were found depending on how CAM use was measured and whether race/ethnicity was addressed. Due to lack of consistency in the way CAM use is measured, as well as a lack of examination of CAM use with racially and ethnically diverse populations, further research is needed. However, the focus of the research should be on high-risk CAM for particular groups, rather than general, non-risk CAM.

The researcher measured the effect of personal factors on the odds of CAM use and high-risk CAM use using the researcher's model, based on Pender's Health Promotion Model as a framework. Women over 40 years of age, with high levels of education, presence of pain, and presence of depression/anxiety were more likely to use CAM. Women who were younger, with high levels of education, presence of pain, and Non-Hispanic of race other than White or Black were more likely to use high-risk CAM.

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Keywords

Health and environmental sciences, Complementary and alternative medicine, Female-specific cancers, Women

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