and purpose: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is frequently used among cancer patients. It is unclear whether and how far patients adapt CAM to the treatment situation. The objective is to assess the changes of CAM use between radiotherapy for breast cancer and the follow-up.
107 patients who participated in a study assessing the possible effects of vitamin D and selenium on radiation-induced skin toxicity completed the CAM-PRIO (Working Group for Prevention and Integrative Oncology of the German Cancer Society) questionnaire during and after radiotherapy. The results were compared.
Overall, 79.8% of the patients used at least one CAM method. Supplementation with vitamin D (49.4%) and selenium (28.7%) and prayer (37.1%) were the methods most used. After completing radiotherapy, many patients started using selenium, vitamin D, relaxation techniques, and yoga to a greater extent. Prior chemotherapy or concurrent endocrine treatments were not associated with the changes in CAM use.
CAM use is mainly reported to be a static phenomenon. However, this study shows that this is not the case and that after the end of radiotherapy patients started using new CAM methods or increased the number of methods used.