Prevalence of complementary/alternative medicines (CAMs) in a cancer population in northern Italy receiving antineoplastic treatments and relationship with quality of life and psychometric features.
To explore the use of CAM (Complementary/Alternative Medicine) in a population of cancer patients undergoing antineoplastic therapy, and to compare differences in sociodemographics, quality of life, and psychological features between CAM users and non-users.
The study population was consecutive cancer patients undergoing antineoplastic treatment in three Piedmont cancer centers. Data were collected from anonymous questionnaires investigating CAM use or not, and what type if used, and sociodemographics, and through validated psychometric instruments to assess psychological features: Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Mini Mental Adjustment to Cancer Scale.
Of the 288 evaluable patients, 52 (18.1%) reported using one or more types of CAM; the most often cited were herbs, special diets and body-based practices, such as plantar reflexology, chiropractic application, and massage. On quality of life assessment, CAM users scored lower than CAM non-users for physical well being (P = 0.006); no significant differences emerged for anxiety and depression and coping styles.
CAM use is less prevalent in northern Italy than in most other European countries. CAM users were found to have a lower quality of life than CAM non-users.