Complementary and alternative medicine use and its association with quality of life among Lebanese breast cancer patients: a cross-sectional studyReportar como inadecuado

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

, 15:444

First Online: 22 December 2015Received: 07 May 2015Accepted: 12 December 2015


BackgroundBreast cancer patients are increasingly seeking Complementary and Alternative Medicine CAM therapies with the hope of alleviating the burden of the disease and improving their quality of life QOL. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence, types, socio-demographic and disease-related correlates as well as characteristics of CAM use including disclosure to treating physicians among breast cancer patients in Beirut, Lebanon. A secondary objective was to evaluate the association between CAM use and QOL.

MethodsA cross-sectional survey was conducted on breast cancer patients recruited from two major referral centers in Beirut: a philanthropic hospital and a private academic medical center. In face-to-face interviews, participants completed a questionnaire of three sections: socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics, breast cancer condition, and CAM use. Three to four weeks following these interviews, the secondary QOL assessment was carried out via telephone using the Arabic version of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Breast questionnaire. The main outcome in this study, CAM use, was defined as using CAM at least once after breast cancer diagnosis.

ResultsA total of 180 breast cancer patients completed the survey response rate: 94.6 %. Prevalence of CAM use was 40 %. Using multivariate logistic regression, CAM use was negatively associated with age OR: 0.96, CI: 0.92-0.99, treatment at the philanthropic hospital OR: 0.13, CI: 0.05-0.35 and was positively associated with an advanced stage of the disease OR: 4.20, CI: 1.65-10.69. Among study participants recruited from both sites, the most commonly used CAM was ‘special food’ followed by ‘herbal teas’, ‘diet supplements’ and ‘Spiritual healing’. Only 4 % of CAM users cited health professionals as influencing their choice of CAM and only one in four patients disclosed CAM use to their treating physician. There was no significant association between CAM use and QOL.

ConclusionsThe findings of this study revealed a prevalent CAM use among Lebanese breast cancer patients. Furthermore, physicians’ role in orienting CAM use was found to be marginal as patients relied mainly on family and media for their choice of CAM and were less likely to disclose CAM use to their treating physicians.

KeywordsComplementary and alternative medicine Breast cancer Lebanon AbbreviationsCAMComplementary and alternative medicine

QOLQuality of life

OROdds ratio

CIConfidence interval

NCCAMNational xcenter for complementary and alternative medicine

MENAMiddle East and North Africa

IRBInstitutional Review Board

FACT-BFunctional assessment of cancer therapy-breast

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12906-015-0969-9 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Farah Naja - Romy Abi Fadel - Mohamad Alameddine - Yasmin Aridi - Aya Zarif - Dania Hariri - Anas Mugharbel - Maya Khalil


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