CAM Usage Climbs With Education Level


SAN ANTONIO — The more years of formal education a breast cancer patient has, the more likely she is to use complementary and alternative medicine in conjunction with adjuvant chemotherapy, Eleanor Glass reported at the annual breast cancer symposium sponsored by the Cancer Therapy and Research Center.

Her survey of 700 breast cancer patients who received chemotherapy and/or adjuvant hormone therapy showed that the majority—55%—used complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) before, during, or afterward. A total of 27% of patients reported using CAM during all three time periods.

CAM usage was strongly related to education level. Overall, 30% of patients without a high school degree reported using CAM, as did 50% with a high school degree, more than two-thirds of women with a college degree, and 70% with graduate education, said Ms. Glass of the University of Cincinnati.

The most commonly used CAM therapies, in descending order of frequency, were vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B6, green tea, selenium, echinacea, garlic extract, soy supplements, and ginkgo biloba.

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