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Complementary Medicines among Egyptian Oncology Patients at a Tertiary Level of Care: Pattern and Motives

Background: Cancer patients seek all possible options of effective therapies. In Africa 80% of the population had used complementary medicine (CM) at least once during cancer treatment course. Some CM products might pose health risks .In Egypt, studies regarding the use and motives behind CM among cancer patients are scarce if any. Objectives: Assessing the pattern of use, motives and possible predictors of complementary cancer therapy among a sample of Egyptian oncology patients. Subjects and methods: A cross-sectional study conducted at Kasr Al Ainy University Hospital (Oncology Unit), Cairo, Egypt. Reviewing of the patients medical records as well as Personal interviews were conducted. Results: Of the included patients 76 out of 331 (about 23%) used CM during their cancer treatment course; none of them used any alternative cancer therapies. Being female patient with low educational attainment (secondary or less) were significantly associated with the use of CM (OR=1.78, P=0.018 and OR=2.90, P=0.011 respectively). The dominated reason for using CM therapy was to increase their body's ability to fight cancer (31.6%). Dissatisfaction with therapy was a significant positive predictor for CM usage (OR=2.10, P=0.006). Honey and herbal medicine were the most commonly used CM. More than 60% of the patients used CM (48/76) didn’t inform their treating physicians about CM usage and almost 23% of (11/48) responded that the physician would disapprove it. Conclusion: This study revealed that a significant proportion of Egyptian patients undergoing cancer therapy are using CM in response to their dissatisfaction with the conventional cancer therapy.


Alshaimaa Mohamed Abdelmoaty, Tarek Tawfik Amin, Hamzah Ahmed Obaid, Omar Adel Ahmed Abdelsadek, Ummu Helma Binti Hassan, Nesrine Ahmed Abdelazeim and Saad L Janoudi

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