Oncologists, breast cancer patients differ on alternative treatments

June 14, 2021 – Oncologists may underestimate how much Breast Cancer patients are using any type of complementary medicine Or alternative treatments, according to a new survey released in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Complementary or alternative therapies usually refer to treatments that are used alongside standard or conventional therapies; acupuncture, massage Therapy, homeopathy, and reflexology are some examples. mind-body treatments such as yoga as well as herbs and Vitamins Also considered complementary medicine according to the CDC.

Survey results showed that oncologists were discussing complementary therapy with only half of patients, and that oncologists and patients differed in opinion about which type of treatment offered the most benefit and improvement in quality of life. .

“This is a well-known and ongoing problem among physicians and patients,” says report co-author and executive director of the Integrative Health Programs at the Samueli Foundation. “Patients are more likely to use complementary and integrative medicine than providers, and providers often know little about these areas or have a negative opinion about them, and so patients don’t bring them up.”

Even though the use of complementary medicine in cancer care is increasing among cancer patients, gaps in doctor-patient communication and education remain. The survey was conducted to measure awareness, use and attitudes among oncologists and patients towards complementary and lifestyle therapies, when included cancer treatment.

Conducted at the end of 2020, the survey included 115 oncologists who treat breast cancer patients as well as 164 Breast Cancer Patients who were diagnosed within 2 years of the survey.

While nearly three-quarters of breast cancer patients (73%) reported using at least one type of complementary medicine after being diagnosed with cancer, oncologists believed that percentage was much lower (43%). ), the researchers found

Nearly two-thirds of both oncologists and patients agreed that complementary and lifestyle approaches improved quality of life and well-being for patients. But these approaches were very different when it came to whether they helped. While 60% of patients believed they did, only 36% of oncologists said so.

In addition, surveyed oncologists reported that they discussed complementary and lifestyle therapies with 55% of patients, but only 28% of patients said their doctor was the source of the information.

The survey also explored awareness of complementary and lifestyle therapies among patients and oncologists. Most oncologists (92%) reported that they were familiar with at least one therapy, and saw Nutrition counseling, support groups, mental health support, and Exercise Counseling as one of the most important forms of complementary medicine. spiritual services and note OR mindfulness was considered less important, although these were the two approaches that patients gave high marks.

“There is a disconnect between oncologists and women with breast cancer that each group thinks important,” said Charles Shapiro, MD, professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. who was not involved in the study. “Spirituality, meditation, and mindfulness were rated higher by women with breast cancer than by oncologists—no surprises here, never mind anything.”

The Samueli Foundation is providing funding for the Society for Integrative Oncology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology to develop clinical practice guidelines that will cover the use of complementary approaches in cancer treatment. The first set of guidelines is scheduled for release this fall.

“Evidence-based tools, such as these guidelines, can help clinicians engage more actively with their patients about the use of complementary or integrative medicine and close the communication gap,” Jonas said.

WebMD Health News

sources say

CDC: “Complementary and Alternative Medicine.”

Wayne Jonas, MD, executive director, Integrative Health Program, Samueli Foundation.

Samueli Foundation.

Charles Shapiro, MD, professor of medicine, hematology, and medical oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York City.

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