WEDNESDAY, Dec. 29, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Institutional involvement in integrative oncology may increase survival for breast cancer patients, according to a study published online Dec. 18 in the Journal of Oncology.

Terri Crudup, from IQVIA in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, and colleagues examined the association between the survival outcomes of breast cancer patients and the level of involvement in integrative oncology at treating institutions. A total of 4,815 newly diagnosed breast cancer patients treated between January 2013 and December 2014 were included for a survival analysis. Oncologists were asked about their institutions’ efforts to educate, support, and provide funding for 12 complementary and lifestyle approaches to develop a scoring system; institutions were scored and placed into four cohorts.

The researchers mapped 173 patients to 103 institutions and 103 oncologists. Patients had a median age of 51 years and 8 percent had metastatic cancer. Compared with other institutions, low-scoring institutions showed less effort to educate, support, and provide integrative therapies. Patients in the low cohort had directionally but not significantly lower five-year survival than patients in other cohorts. Compared with the low cohort, institutions in the low-mid cohort and mid-high cohort had odds of five-year survival that were increased threefold and 48 percent, respectively.

“Access to basic integrative health care services in cancer care not only supports a higher quality of life, but this study also shows that these services increase a patient’s chance of survival,” a coauthor said in a statement. “These findings serve as a call to action for hospitals and oncologists to support a whole-person approach to cancer care.”

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