2. Gaziantep University, Division of Oncology Gaziantep, Turkey.
3. Hacettepe University, Division of Oncology, Ankara, Turkey.
4. Ege University, Division of Oncology, Izmir, Turkey.
5. Gazi University, Division of Oncology, Ankara, Turkey.
6. Ankara University, Division of Oncology, Ankara, Turkey.
7. Baskent University, Division of Oncology, Adana, Turkey.
8. Cumhuriyet University, Division of Oncology, Sivas, Turkey.
9. Karadeniz Technical University, Division of Oncology, Trabzon, Turkey.
10. Sakarya Education and Research Hospital, Sakarya, Turkey.
Background: Cancer is a rapidly increasing worldwide health problem and despite medical interventions success rates are not very high. Complementary approaches are commonly used by patients in conjunction with standard therapies. Our aim is to investigate the extent of the use of complementary interventions in Turkey.
Methods: A questionnaire consisting of 32 questions was completed by 872 patients in ten different medical institutions, which included over 90% of the oncological care given in 7 geographical regions of Turkey, were represented. To allay patients' concerns that their answers could influence their treatment, the questionnaire was given to each patient by support people and not by the attending physician.
Results: Eight hundred and seventy two patients were included in the study. Fifty five percent of the patients were female. The median age was 55 (16-89). Of all patients, 165 (18.9%) used some form of complementary interventions during their illnesses. There was no association between the use of complementary treatments and demographic variables. Frequency of patients who used complementary interventions varied significantly among medical institutions (p<0.002). The most frequent cancers were gastrointestinal system cancers (28.7%), breast cancer (27.1%), and lung cancer (18.7%). However, complementary interventions were used most frequently by patients with prostate cancer (33.3%), head and neck cancer (27.3%), and lung cancer (22.1%). The most frequently used method (85%) was a mixture of various herbs. Sources of information regarding complementary interventions included relatives (37%), television (26%), other patients with cancer (22%), and the internet (21%).
Conclusions: Approximately 20% of cancer patients in Turkey used complementary interventions and this frequency was lower than expected.
Keywords: Complementary medicine, cancer, Turkey, multicentre