Surviving breast cancer: the role of complementary therapies

Fam Community Health. Jan-Mar 2003;26(1):11-24. doi: 10.1097/00003727-200301000-00003.


Early detection and efficacious treatment have prolonged the lives of women diagnosed with breast cancer. Although many of these women have survived more than 5 years, there is minimal knowledge of their use of complementary and alternative medical (CAM) treatments. A qualitative focus group study was conducted with 66 breast cancer survivors, ranging in age from 32 to 85 years, with time since diagnosis 2 to 28 years. This article will discuss specific reasons breast cancer survivors reported for using CAM, the ways in which breast cancer survivors blended these therapies with conventional Western medicine, and health care providers' roles in supporting breast cancer survivors' use of CAM approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Primary Health Care
  • Qualitative Research
  • Survivors / psychology*
  • United States