Complementary Medicine Not Tied to Prostate Cancer Outcome

Complementary, alternative medicine widely used; no effect on treatment satisfaction, outcomes

FRIDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Although widely used, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) does not impact patient satisfaction with treatment or patient-reported outcomes after treatment for localized prostate cancer, according to a study published in the May issue of Urology.

Scott D. Ramsey, M.D., Ph.D., of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a prospective observational study of more than 700 men with localized prostate cancer treated in hospital-based urology clinics and community urology practices. Participants completed surveys at baseline and six months after recruitment. The association between CAM use and patient satisfaction with treatment and patient-reported outcomes following treatment was assessed.

The researchers found that more than half of study participants used some form of CAM. When prayer was excluded, the percentage of patients using CAM dropped to 39 percent. CAM use was not associated with treatment satisfaction; however, patient communication with the treating physician did impact treatment satisfaction. The choice of primary therapy, but not CAM use, correlated with stability or improvement in urinary, bowel, or sexual function at six months.

"In the present prospective observational study, CAM use was highly prevalent but unrelated to treatment satisfaction or changes in functional status," the authors write. "The effect of CAM on these end points remains to be established in comparative effectiveness studies."

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