Demographic and Clinical Characteristics Associated With Familiarity, Interest, and Use of Integrative Therapies Among Patients With Breast Cancer

Integr Cancer Ther. 2023 Jan-Dec:22:15347354231185122. doi: 10.1177/15347354231185122.


Background: Integrative therapies reduce side effects from cancer treatment, though remain underutilized. There is a paucity of data on factors associated with familiarity, interest, and use of these therapies among breast cancer patients.

Methods: A survey on familiarity, interest, and use of acupuncture, massage, meditation, music therapy, and yoga was conducted in patients enrolled in the Chicago Multiethnic Epidemiologic Breast Cancer Cohort. Familiarity and interest were assessed using a five-point Likert scale, and modeled using proportional odds regression. Use was per self-report, modeled using logistic regression. Adjusted odds ratios (aOR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated.

Results: Of 1300 study participants, 59.6% were familiar with massage, 47.2% acupuncture, 46.9% meditation, 46.5% yoga, and 34.5% music therapy; 63.3% were interested in massage, 50.2% yoga, 47.9% meditation, 44.2% acupuncture, and 41.4% music therapy. Only 41.3% had used massage, 25.8% acupuncture, 18.7% yoga, 18.5% meditation, and 7.4% music therapy. Older age and lower education level were associated with lower familiarity and interest. Black patients were more likely than White patients to be interested. Patients' interest increased significantly when certain symptoms were treated. In the adjusted models, patients ages 40 to 65 were less likely than those ages <40 to have used massage (aOR 0.55, 95% CI: 0.31-0.98), yoga (aOR 0.52, 95% CI: 0.27-0.99), or meditation (aOR 0.47, 95% CI: 0.25-0.90). Patients with high school education were less likely than those with a graduate degree to have used acupuncture (aOR 0.42, 95% CI: 0.24-0.72), massage (aOR 0.39, 95% CI: 0.25-0.62), or meditation (aOR 0.26, 95% CI: 0.12-0.58). Having received chemotherapy was associated with increased interest in yoga (aOR 1.36, 95% CI: 1.07-1.73), massage (aOR 1.27, 95% CI: 1.01-1.59), or meditation (aOR 1.26, 95% CI: 1.01-1.57). Receipt of hormone therapy was not associated with interest or use.

Conclusion: In this racially diverse cohort of patients, familiarity and interest of integrative therapies were high, while use was low. Older age and lower education level were associated with lack of interest and use. Chemotherapy was associated with interest, but hormone therapy was not. Strategies to promote the benefits and use of integrative therapies among breast cancer patients are needed.

Keywords: acupuncture; breast cancer; chemotherapy; integrative therapies; massage; supportive care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Hormones
  • Humans
  • Meditation*
  • Yoga*


  • Hormones