177581 Complementary/ alternative medicine (CAM) use by survivors of childhood cancer

Monday, October 27, 2008: 2:30 PM

Deborah Ndao, MPH , Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer, Columbia University, New York, NY
Elena Ladas, MS, RD , Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer, Columbia University, New York, NY
Bin Cheng, PhD , Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Kara Kelly, MD , Division of Pediatric Oncology, Columbia University, New York, NY
Purpose: Surveys reported 9-84% of children with cancer use CAM during cancer therapy. Though CAM use has not been well investigated among survivors of childhood cancer, it is hypothesized that this growing population of adolescents and young adults may use CAM to prevent or lessen long-term complications of cancer therapy.

Methods: IRB approval was obtained for a survey of CAM use among childhood cancer survivors. 119 survivors (58M/61F), mean age 13.6 6.2 years and ≥ 3 months off treatment, or their guardians, were interviewed in person or by telephone from 6/2005 6/2007 after obtaining consent. Demographic data, CAM modalities used, purpose and referral for use, and communication with physician about use was collected.

Results: 54% of survivors interviewed were White, 42% Hispanic, 12% Black, 3% Asian, and 8% other. Mean time from completion of cancer treatment was 4.5 3.8 years. 82.3% of survivors used at least one form of CAM. Biological-based therapies were most frequently used (61%). 53.8% of survivors attended religious services regularly. Overall 56% of survivors discussed the CAM therapy used with their physician. The majority of survivors (52%) obtained information about the CAM therapy used from a family member or friend. Reported purpose for CAM use included general health/ healing (18.4%), fitness/ rehabilitation (17.9%), and emotional health (11.3%).

Conclusion: Survivors of childhood cancer frequently use CAM. Health care providers should routinely inquire survivors about CAM use and develop health promotion research initiatives that cater to the needs of this population.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify utilization patterns of CAM use among childhood cancer survivors 2. Describe factors associated with CAM use among childhood cancer survivors

Keywords: Pediatrics, Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the program manager for Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer for nearly 5 years. Additionally, I have an MPH.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.