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Keywords:

  • Head and neck;
  • cancer;
  • alternative medicine;
  • complementary medicine

Abstract

Hypothesis/Objective: The use of complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) is growing among cancer patients. A Medline search failed to reveal any dedicated report of CAM use specifically in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC).

Study Design: Use of CAM was evaluated in a cohort of treated HNC patients.

Methods: Patients treated for HNC were asked if they had used CAM since their diagnosis. Demographic data and data pertaining to mode of CAM, duration of treatment and effects were obtained.

Results: One hundred forty-three patients (mean age 61 years) were included. Only nine patients (6.3%) reported using disease related CAM. This included acupuncture (4), Reiki (2), naturopathy (2), hypnosis (1), shiatsu (1), chiropractic treatment (1), homeopathy (1), and selenium (1).

Conclusion: Contrary to the reported use, few of our HNC patients used CAM. Although this could be related to good caregiver-patient relationship, further studies in comparable populations are warranted to evaluate if this is a local or a pervading finding in head and neck cancer patients.