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Herbal Supplements are Most Popular CAM

Posted 4/22/2014

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  This probably isn't a surprise to anyone, but a recent study suggests both that most people going through cancer treatment use some kind of CAM (complementary/alternative medicine) treatment as well as the standard therapy. It also indicates that herbal supplements are the most popular. That is worrisome to me, as there is the constant question re what exactly is in some of those herbal supplements and might they interact in a negative way with chemotherapy or radiation therapy?

  Once active treatment is done, there is really no reason not to consider any CAM therapies that are of interest--with the usual caveat of telling your doctor what you are doing. (An aside: it is equally important to tell your CAM practitioner what you are doing) During treatment, however, most doctors are concerned about possible negative interactions. It is always okay to participate in treatments that don't involve ingesting something. That means that Reiki or massage or acupuncture are always acceptable.

  This is a review from Medscape. I give you the beginning and a link to read more:

Herbal Supplements Are Top Complementary Medicine in the US
Megan Brooks

Nonvitamin, nonmineral dietary supplements, chiropractic manipulation, yoga, and massage therapy are the most common complementary health approaches among US adults, but rates of use vary by area of the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, defines complementary health approaches as "a group of diverse medical and health care interventions, practices, products or disciplines that are not generally considered part of conventional medicine."
Jennifer A. Peregoy, MPH, from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues analyzed data for 34,525 US adults aged 18 years and older who provided information on complementary health as part of the 2012 National Health Interview Survey.
Nonvitamin, nonmineral dietary supplements were the most popular complementary health approach in 2012, reported by 17.9% of adults, more than twice that of all other approaches, the researchers report in a National Center for Health Statistics Data Brief published online April 16. Chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation was used by 8.5% of adults, yoga by 8.4%, massage therapy by 6.8%, meditation by 4.1%, and special diets by 3.0%.


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