Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 26
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Leggett, S. Koczwara, B. and Miller, M. 2015. The Impact of Complementary and Alternative Medicines on Cancer Symptoms, Treatment Side Effects, Quality of Life, and Survival in Women With Breast Cancer—A Systematic Review. Nutrition and Cancer, Vol. 67, Issue. 3, p. 373.

    Mwaka, A.D. Okello, E.S. and Orach, C.G. 2015. Barriers to biomedical care and use of traditional medicines for treatment of cervical cancer: an exploratory qualitative study in northern Uganda. European Journal of Cancer Care, Vol. 24, Issue. 4, p. 503.

    Greenlee, Heather Balneaves, Lynda G. Carlson, Linda E. Cohen, Misha Deng, Gary Hershman, Dawn Mumber, Matthew Perlmutter, Jane Seely, Dugald Sen, Ananda Zick, Suzanna M. and Tripathy, Debu 2014. Clinical Practice Guidelines on the Use of Integrative Therapies as Supportive Care in Patients Treated for Breast Cancer. JNCI Monographs, Vol. 2014, Issue. 50, p. 346.

    Kasem, Rehab F. Hegazy, Radwa H. Arafa, Mona A. A. and AbdelMohsen, Mona M. 2014. Chemopreventive effect of Mentha piperita on dimethylbenz[a]anthracene and formaldehyde-induced tongue carcinogenesis in mice (histological and immunohistochemical study). Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine, Vol. 43, Issue. 7, p. 484.

    Zhou, Ning Han, Shu-Yan Zhou, Fei and Li, Ping-ping 2014. Anti-tumor effect of Shu-gan-Liang-Xue decoction in breast cancer is related to the inhibition of aromatase and steroid sulfatase expression. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Vol. 154, Issue. 3, p. 687.

    Tazi, I. Nafil, H. Mahmal, L. Harif, M. Khouchani, M. Saadi, Z. Belbaraka, R. Elomrani, A. and Tahri, A. 2013. Les médecines alternatives et complémentaires chez les patients cancéreux en cours de traitement à Marrakech, Maroc : étude prospective. Bulletin de la Société de pathologie exotique, Vol. 106, Issue. 4, p. 278.

    Templeton, Arnoud J Thürlimann, Beat Baumann, Michael Mark, Michael Stoll, Sarah Schwizer, Madeleine Dietrich, Daniel and Ruhstaller, Thomas 2013. Cross-sectional study of self-reported physical activity, eating habits and use of complementary medicine in breast cancer survivors. BMC Cancer, Vol. 13, Issue. 1,

    Matsuno, Rayna Kim Pagano, Ian S. Maskarinec, Gertraud Issell, Brian F. and Gotay, Carolyn C. 2012. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use and Breast Cancer Prognosis: A Pooled Analysis of Four Population-Based Studies of Breast Cancer Survivors. Journal of Women's Health, Vol. 21, Issue. 12, p. 1252.

    Saquib, Juliann Parker, Barbara A. Natarajan, Loki Madlensky, Lisa Saquib, Nazmus Patterson, Ruth E. Newman, Vicky A. and Pierce, John P. 2012. Prognosis following the use of complementary and alternative medicine in women diagnosed with breast cancer. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Vol. 20, Issue. 5, p. 283.

    Speck, Rebecca M. DeMichele, Angela Farrar, John T. Hennessy, Sean Mao, Jun J. Stineman, Margaret G. and Barg, Frances K. 2012. Scope of symptoms and self-management strategies for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in breast cancer patients. Supportive Care in Cancer, Vol. 20, Issue. 10, p. 2433.

    Tautz, E. Momm, F. Hasenburg, A. and Guethlin, C. 2012. Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in breast cancer patients and their experiences: A cross-sectional study. European Journal of Cancer, Vol. 48, Issue. 17, p. 3133.

    Bagot, J. -L. and Tourneur-Bagot, O. 2011. L’homéopathe, l’oncologue et le patient. Psycho-Oncologie, Vol. 5, Issue. 3, p. 168.

    Han, Esther Johnson, Nathalie DelaMelena, Tammy Glissmeyer, Margaret and Steinbock, Kari 2011. Alternative Therapy Used as Primary Treatment for Breast Cancer Negatively Impacts Outcomes. Annals of Surgical Oncology, Vol. 18, Issue. 4, p. 912.

    Ma, Huiyan Sullivan-Halley, Jane Smith, Ashley W Neuhouser, Marian L Alfano, Catherine M Meeske, Kathleen George, Stephanie M McTiernan, Anne McKean-Cowdin, Roberta Baumgartner, Kathy B Ballard-Barbash, Rachel and Bernstein, Leslie 2011. Estrogenic botanical supplements, health-related quality of life, fatigue, and hormone-related symptoms in breast cancer survivors: a HEAL study report. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol. 11, Issue. 1,

    Ma, Huiyan Carpenter, Catherine L Sullivan-Halley, Jane and Bernstein, Leslie 2011. The roles of herbal remedies in survival and quality of life among long-term breast cancer survivors - results of a prospective study. BMC Cancer, Vol. 11, Issue. 1,

    Davis, Susan R. Lijovic, Marijana Fradkin, Pam Bradbury, Jo La China, Maria Schwarz, Max and Bell, Robin J. 2010. Use of complementary and alternative therapy by women in the first 2 years after diagnosis and treatment of invasive breast cancer. Menopause, Vol. 17, Issue. 5, p. 1004.

    Johnson, Mark I. 2010. Evidence-Based Chronic Pain Management.

    Smith, Helen A. Matthews, Alicia Markovic, Nina Youk, Ada Danielson, Michelle E. and Talbott, Evelyn O. 2010. A Comparative Study of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Heterosexually and Lesbian Identified Women: Data from the ESTHER Project (Pittsburgh, PA, 2003–2006). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Vol. 16, Issue. 11, p. 1161.

    Chiu, Joanne Yau, Thomas and Epstein, Richard J. 2009. Complications of traditional Chinese/herbal medicines (TCM)—a guide for perplexed oncologists and other cancer caregivers. Supportive Care in Cancer, Vol. 17, Issue. 3, p. 231.

    Imamura, Tetsuya Ishizuka, Osamu Aizawa, Naoki Zhong, Chen Ogawa, Teruyuki Nakayama, Tsuyoshi Tanabe, Tomoaki and Nishizawa, Osamu 2008. Gosha-jinki-gan reduces transmitter proteins and sensory receptors associated with C fiber activation induced by acetic acid in rat urinary bladder. Neurourology and Urodynamics, Vol. 27, Issue. 8, p. 832.


Complementary and alternative medicine in breast cancer patients

  • ZEINA NAHLEH (a1) (a2) and IMAD A. TABBARA (a3)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 January 2005

Objective: Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is becoming increasingly popular among cancer patients, in particular those with breast cancer. It represents one of the fastest growing treatment modalities in the United States. Therefore, knowledge of CAM therapies is becoming necessary for physicians and other health care providers. CAM encompasses a wide range of modalities including special diet and nutrition, mind–body approaches, and traditional Chinese medicine.

Methods: We reviewed the biomedical literature on CAM use in breast cancer patients, using Medline search from 1975 until 2002. In addition, consensus reports and books on CAM and breast cancer were included in the review. We evaluated the prevalence of CAM use in breast cancer patients, the reasons cited for its use, the different available modalities, and the reported outcomes.

Results: Use of CAM in breast cancer patients ranges between 48% and 70% in the United States. The most commonly used CAM modalities include dietary supplements, mind–body approaches, and acupuncture. The reasons cited for using CAM were to boost the immune system, improve the quality of life, prevent recurrence of cancer, provide control over life, and treat breast cancer and the side effects of treatment. Several studies reported favorable results including improved survival, better pain control, reduced anxiety, improvement in coping strategies and significant efficacy in treating nausea and vomiting. Other less well-organized trials have reported either no benefit or negative effect of CAM and potential toxicity of some commercial products.

Significance of results: CAM is a growing field in health care and particularly among breast cancer patients. Knowledge of CAM by physicians, especially oncologists, is necessary. Oncologists should be willing to discuss the role of CAM with their patients and encourage patients to participate in well-organized research about CAM.

Corresponding author
Corresponding author: Imad A. Tabbara, University of Virginia Health System, Division of Hematology/Oncology, P.O. Box 800716, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0716. E-mail:
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Palliative & Supportive Care
  • ISSN: 1478-9515
  • EISSN: 1478-9523
  • URL: /core/journals/palliative-and-supportive-care
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *