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Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Cancer Survivors in a Structured Exercise Program: 1555 Board #7 May 31 100 PM - 300 PM

Smoak, Peter1; Christensen, Matthew1; Harman, Nicholas1; Shackelford, Daniel2; Hayward, Reid1; Kage, Katie1; Brown, Jessica2; Stewart, Laura1

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2018 - Volume 50 - Issue 5S - p 375
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000536319.71403.03
D-11 Thematic Poster - Physical Activity and Health Promotion in Cancer Survivors Thursday, May 31, 2018, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM Room: CC-Lower level L100H

1University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO.

2Carroll University, Waukesha, WI.

(No relevant relationships reported)

INTRODUCTION: Approximately 12.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year and many undergo conventional treatments including chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Complementary medicines supplement these conventional treatments while alternative medicine refers to practices intended to replace traditional cancer treatments. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices can include, but are not limited to dietary supplementation, Chinese herbal medicine, and physical manipulation. A yearlong 2012 survey found that cancer survivors spent $4 billion on vitamins and minerals, $1.2 billion on non-vitamin or mineral natural products, and $500 million on massage.

PURPOSE: To examine the use of CAM in cancer survivors currently participating in a structured exercise program.

METHODS: Participants from the University of Northern Colorado Cancer Rehabilitation Institute (N=29) were given a 28-question, traditional paper and pencil, CAM survey. RESULTS: All respondents indicated that they were happy with the conventional medical treatments that they received, and 70% of respondents reported CAM use after their cancer diagnosis. Half of the respondents started CAM use after physician recommendation, while the other half of respondents started using CAM on their own. Also, 45% of respondents used some form of CAM while undergoing cancer treatment. Almost half of respondents (48%) claimed that CAM was very effective, while the other 52% of respondents were unsure. Only 1 one participant reported experiencing a CAM-related negative side effect. Respondents reported using dietary supplements (75%), vitamins (75%), and minerals (30%) with the most commonly used forms including Vitamins D and B, calcium, fish oil, astragalus, and ginseng. Other therapies used were massage (60%), acupuncture (25%), and cannabis (15%).

CONCLUSION: A high percentage of cancer survivors participating in a structured exercise program reported using CAM. Consequently, cancer rehabilitation programs may want to consider providing information related to the safety and effectiveness of these products and practices to cancer survivors.

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine