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The use of herbal medicines by people with cancer: a cross-sectional survey

Damery, S. L., Gratus, C., Grieve, R., Warmington, S. A., Jones, J., Routledge, Philip Alexander, Greenfield, S. M., Dowswell, G., Sherriff, J. and Wilson, S. 2011. The use of herbal medicines by people with cancer: a cross-sectional survey. British Journal of Cancer 104 (6) , pp. 927-933. 10.1038/bjc.2011.47

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BACKGROUND: A large proportion of cancer patients are estimated to use herbal medicines, but data to substantiate this are lacking. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of herbal medicine use among cancer patients in the West Midlands, and determine the characteristics predicting herbal medicine use. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey of oncology patients (n=1498) being followed up at a hospital in Coventry was undertaken. Recipients were asked about herbal medicine use since their cancer diagnosis, and the association between sociodemographic and cancer-related characteristics and herbal medicine use was evaluated. RESULTS: A total of 1134 responses were received (75.7%). The prevalence of herbal medicine use was 19.7% (95% CI: 17.4-22.1; n=223). Users were more likely to be affluent, female, and aged under 50 years. Usage increased with time since cancer diagnosis (X(2) for trend=4.63; P=0.031). A validation data set, derived from a survey of oncology patients in Birmingham (n=541) with differing socioeconomic characteristics showed no significant difference in estimated prevalence (16.6%; 95% CI: 11.9-22.2). CONCLUSION: A substantial number of people with cancer are likely to be taking herbal medicines. Understanding the self-medication behaviours of these individuals is essential if health-care professionals are to support treatment adherence and avoid unwanted pharmacological interactions.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Schools: Pharmacy
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Uncontrolled Keywords: herbal medicines; survivorship; prevalence
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
ISSN: 0007-0920
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 03:29

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