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1Traditional Medicine Research  2020, Vol. 5 Issue (1): 7-21    DOI: 10.12032/TMR20190728127
Special Issue on Integrative Oncology     
Complementary and alternative medicine applications in cancer medicine
Milena Jurisevic1,*(), Sergey Bolevich2
1Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Kragujevac, Kragujevac 34000, Serbia
2Department of Human Pathology, the Federal State Autonomous Education Institution of Higher Training, the First Sechenov Moscow State Medical University at the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation (Sechenov University), Moscow 119991, Russia.
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Highlights

(1) The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is growing rapidly especially among younger female patients with cancer with higher education.

(2) Most patients with cancer consider CAM as a harmless option in their healing process, which is not always the case.

(3) Clinical-based evidence for mind-body therapies has been established, and this type of CAM can be recommended for patients with cancer during chemotherapy.

Traditionality

The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of diseases since the ancient times. In the 16th-11th century B.C.E., there were earliest notes of tumors and their treatment methods were described by traditional Chinese practitioners. It has been known that herbal medicine are used in Egypt and in traditional Chinese medicine since 4500 B.C.E. Since the early 1970s, the use of CAM in cancer treatment has expanded worldwide. Numerous studies point to the benefits of Ayurveda yoga in patients with cancer, improving quality of life. China acupuncture has been shown beneficial in controlling vomiting and pain in patients with cancer. Reflexology, which was practiced for years by followers of Chinese, Egyptian, and Indian medicine, has been successfully used to relieve pain in patients with cancer. Mushroom Agaricus blazei has been mostly used in Japan but is currently in the first phase of the clinical trial in patients with cancer.

Abstract

Besides conventional medicine, many patients with cancer seek complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as an additional treatment option. Since the early 1970s, the use of CAM in cancer treatment has expanded worldwide. CAM, as a tempting option, was used by patients with cancer mainly due to easy accessibility. Patients with cancer used CAM to achieve better quality of life or to find a cure. As physicians are mainly unaware of CAM use by patients, doctor-patient communication about CAM use should be brought to a higher level. To identify circumstances in which CAM are preferred, further investigations are needed especially in biologically based therapies. Clinical-based evidence for mind-body therapies have been established, so this type of CAM can be recommended for patients with cancer during chemotherapy. Future studies are necessary to fill the gaps so that CAM users, as well as medical experts, are in position to clearly determine all the benefits and disadvantages of the mentioned therapy.



Key wordsComplementary and alternative medicine      Cancer      Breast cancer      Safety     
Received: 17 June 2019      Published: 02 January 2020
Fund:  This work was supported by grant from the Serbian Ministry of Science and Technological Development (OI 175 014).
Corresponding Authors: Jurisevic Milena   
E-mail: milena.jurisevic13@gmail.com
Cite this article:

Milena Jurisevic, Sergey Bolevich. Complementary and alternative medicine applications in cancer medicine. 1Traditional Medicine Research, 2020, 5(1): 7-21. doi: 10.12032/TMR20190728127

URL:

https://www.tmrjournals.com/tmr/EN/10.12032/TMR20190728127

Figure 1 Classification of CAM
CAM, Complementary and alternative medicine.
Study Year of publication Study population Sample size Most common CAM treatment Overall prevalence of CAM use
McLay
et al. [87]
2012 Scottish women with breast cancer 360
Herbal medicines, cod liver oil (38.4%), glucosamine (29.6%); vitamins and minerals-multivitamin (25.6%); supplements with estrogenic activity, soya or red clover (29%)
33.1%
Neuhouser et al. [88] 2016 Patients with breast cancer in New Mexico, Los Angeles county, and Western Washington state 707 Dietary supplements (51.3%), estrogenic supplements (41.6%); spinal manipulation, massage therapy, chiropractic medicine (27.2%) 60.2%
Ashikaga
et al. [89]
2002 Patients with breast cancer in the USA 148 Vitamins (62.8%); herbal treatments (20.9%); meditation (20.9%); traditional massage (20.3%) 72.3%
Chen
et al. [90]
2008 Chinese women with breast cancer 5046 Ganoderma lucidum capsules (58.4%); vitamins (36.7%); Chinese herbal medicine (76.8%) 97%
Moran
et al. [91]
2012 Patients with breast cancer in the USA 360 Reiki, meditation, massage (71%); topical CAM (Aloe, Manuka honey, vitamin E, Jinzhancao (Calendula officinalis L.) (26%); oral CAM high-dose vitamin/minerals (45%) 54%
Yap
et al. [92]
2004 Postmenopausal patients with breast cancer treated with tamoxifen postoperatively in Canada 290 Extracts from organisms (glucosamine evening primrose oil fish oil chondroitin, glutamate, inositol, lecithin, melatonin, methionine, royal jelly) (40.1%); herbal therapies (29.7%) 26.9%
Saquib
et al. [93]
2011 Patients with early-stage breast cancer in the USA 2562 Visual imagery (79%); meditation/relaxation (58.7%); spiritual healing (73.2%) 50%
Tautz
et al. [94]
2012 Patients with breast cancer in Germany 170 Vitamins/minerals (66%); mistletoe therapy (51%); yoga/relaxation techniques (43%) 63%
Wyatt
et al. [95]
2010 Patients with early-stage breast cancer in the USA 222 Vitamins (34.7%); audiotapes (11.3%); massage (8.1%); spiritual healing (7.7%) 56.8%
Shaharudin et al. [96] 2011 Breast cancer survivors in Malaysia 114 Dietary supplements (83.6%), multivitamin (52.3%); spirulina (32.3%); vitamin C (27.4%); prayer (27.4%); traditional Malay medicine (27.4%) 64.03%
Kang
et al. [97]
2012 Korean patients with breast cancer 425 Vitamin/mineral (41.9%); medical mushrooms (32.3%); Renshen (Panax ginseng C. A. Mey) or its products (33.6%); exercise therapy (43.2%) 57.4%
Sárváry
et al. [98]
2019 Patients with breast cancer in Hungary 135 Vitamins (60%); herbs in total (78.5%); beetroot, beetroot products (60.7%); ginger (24.4%); garlic (24.4%); Béres drops (35.6%); relaxation (12.6%) 84.4%
Hwang
et al. [99]
2015 Korean patients with breast cancer 288 Mushrooms (46.6%); Renshen (Panax ginseng C. A. Mey) (53.4%); vitamins (40%); yoga (53.9%); prayer, meditation (34.2%); acupuncture (22.3%) 67%
Molassiotis et al. [100] 2006 Patients with breast cancer in Europe (11 countries) 282 Herbal medicine (32.4%); spiritual therapies (11.2%); relaxation (14.3%); vitamins (14.3%) 44.7%
Helyer
et al. [101]
2006 Patients with locally advanced breast cancer in Canada 32 Vitamin therapy (66%); soy products (26); faith and spiritual therapy (40%); massage therapy (26%) 46.87%
Greenlee
et al. [102]
2016 Women with nonmetastatic invasive breast cancer in the USA 685 Dietary supplements (70%); mind-body practices (71%) 87%
Kremser
et al. [103]
2008 Australian women with breast cancer 367 Vitamins (54.2%); massage (41.4%); meditation (38.7%); yoga (21.8%) 87.5%
Gulluoglu
et al. [104]
2008 Patients with breast cancer in Turkey 129 Herbal medicine (67%); spiritual treatments (24%); vitamins (22%) 35.65%
Albabtain
et al. [105]
2018 Patients with breast cancer in Saudi Arabia 95 Spiritual therapy (70.5%); honey (36.8%); olive oil (24.2%); herbal therapy (23.2%) 81.1%
Kalender
et al. [106]
2014 Patients with breast cancer in Turkey 122 Stinging nettle (57%); prayer and spiritual healing (49%); green tea (34%); vitamins (23%) 50%
Abdullah
et al. [107]
2003 Chinese patients with breast cancer 352 Lingzhi (Ganoderma)(44.9%); shark’s cartilage (43.9%); fungi (28.6%); Renshen (Panax ginseng C. A. Mey) (14.3%) 27.8%
Owens
et al. [108]
2009 Patients with breast cancer in South Texas 125 Prayer (93%); massage (27 %), music (70%); exercise (65%) NA
Balneaves et al. [109] 2006 Patients with breast cancer in Canada 334 Vitamins (68%); herbal/plant products (41.6%); spiritual therapies (35.3%) 80%
Cui
et al. [110]
2004 Chinese women with breast cancer 1065 Traditional Chinese medicine (87%); Chinese herb medicine (86%); supplements (85%); physical exercises (66%) 98%
Can
et al. [111]
2012 Turkish patients with breast cancer 96 Prayer (71.7%); Linden (47.9%); green tea (37.5%) 100%
Hann
et al. [112]
2006 Patients with early-stage breast cancer in the USA 166 Vitamins (44%); herbal methods (44%); acupuncture and massage (18%) 39%
Montazeri et al. [113] 2005 Patients with breast cancer patients in Iran 177 Prayer and spiritual healing (73.8%); bioenergy (11.5%); 32.2%
Rakovitch et al. [114] 2005 Patients with breast cancer in Canada 251 Vitamin therapy (32%); meditation (20%); massage therapy (14%); medical diets (20%) 43%
Table 1 Prevalence of CAM use by patients with breast cancer
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