Analysis of the 2007 National Health Interview Survey revealed that cancer survivors are more likely to use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) compared with the general population.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine investigated CAM use, reasons and motivations for use, and communication of CAM use with health care providers among 23,393 American adults—1,471 cancer survivors and 21,922 non-cancer controls. The researchers found that 65 percent of cancer survivors have used CAM in their lifetime, and 43 percent used CAM in the past year. In contrast, only 53 percent of the non-cancer respondents used CAM in their lifetime, and 37 percent used CAM in the past year. The most common reasons for which cancer survivors reported using CAM were wellness or general disease prevention (29 percent); enhancement of immune function (11 percent); energy enhancement (11 percent); pain management (6 percent); psychological distress (2 percent); and insomnia (1 percent).