Here is a profile of CAM users among patients with cancer who live in Washington State. The data come from an insurance survey. So, it’s limited to what people submit for reimbursement.
Patients with cancer use naturopathy and acupuncture more than people without cancer. The use of chiropractic is less, while the use of massage is the same.
Female gender, metastatic cancer, hematologic malignancy, and chemotherapy are associated with increased use of naturopathy and acupuncture. The most common diagnosis by the CAM provider is musculoskeletal pain.
CAM providers do not replace conventional healthcare providers but instead are integrated into overall care. And the cost for CAM is modest, accounting for less than 2% of the overall medical bills for cancer patients.
John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.