Under 65s more willing to try alternative cancer therapies, survey finds

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28th May 2015 12:28 - Pharmaceutical

A recent US survey of cancer patients, conducted by the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, has Under 65 more willing to try alternative cancer therapies, survey findsdiscovered that those under 65 are more open minded when it comes to exploring alternative therapies for their symptoms and side effects of treatment.

Director of integrated oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center, Dr. Jun Mao, said of the findings: “We found that the baby boomers are much more likely to use complimentary and alternative therapies than their parents in part due to a social change in the U.S. in the 60s and 70s with a big social movement toward things like a macrobiotic diet and yoga that made these things more mainstream.”

The patients were asked whether they had used any alternative medicine therapies since their treatment started, such as: art therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, yoga, tai chi, massages, special diets and herbal supplements.

Of the 969 respondents, just over half had been diagnosed with cancer more than a year prior to the survey and 59 per cent had tried at least one alternative medicine therapy since then.

The findings highlighted that white, college educated, female patients, who were under 65, were the demographic most likely to think that alternative therapy would work.

Other demographics most likely to believe that alternative therapy would have a positive effect on their symptoms were: people in employment, people who had lived with their diagnosis for a longer period of time, along with people with previous experience of alternative therapies.

The factors which prevented people trying these alternative therapies were: a lack of knowledge about the options available, no insurance cover and being unable to find a provider.

Those who had tried an alternative therapy were largely younger than 65, college educated, had not had chemotherapy and had lived with their diagnosis for longer than a year.

The researchers, including Dr. Mao, questioned adults with breast, lung and gastrointestinal tumors being treated at the cancer centre.

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