User rate of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) of patients visiting a counseling facility for CAM of a German comprehensive cancer center

Anticancer Res. 2014 Feb;34(2):943-8.


Background: In Europe about 40% to 50% of patients with cancer use complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). Only scarce data regarding the use of CAM have been reported from comprehensive cancer Centers.

Patients and methods: We carried out a survey on patients attending the counseling Unit for CAM of a German comprehensive cancer Center using a standardized questionnaire.

Results: A total of 165 patients participated in the survey; 60% had already used CAM. Trace elements and vitamins were most often used. Strengthening oneself and one's immune system were the two main reasons (73% and 69% respectively for CAM use). The most important sources of information are print media and physicians (41% and 35% respectively). The two main reasons for using CAM were practitioners spending more time with patients and patients having experienced positive effects from CAM.

Conclusion: For patients with cancer becoming active is an important goal, while disappointment in conventional medicine is not. Accepting patients' motivation for autonomy may help oncologists to increase adherence to conventional therapy.

Keywords: Complementary medicine; attitude of cancer patients; user behavior.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Complementary Therapies / methods
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires