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Revista de Salud Pública

versão impressa ISSN 0124-0064


SANCHEZ, Ricardo; IBANEZ, Claudia  e  SUAREZ, Amaranto. Use of complementary and alternative therapies in children with cancer. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2015, vol.17, n.5, pp.699-712. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objective To determine the frequency, characteristics and related factors for the use of complementary and alternative therapies in pediatric patients with cancer in a Colombian pediatric oncology department. Methods: Cross-sectional study consisting of a survey of 398 caregivers of pediatrics patients with cancer evaluated in the Instituto Nacional de Cancerología in Bogotá, Colombia. The survey collected sociodemographic and clinical information and evaluated the type of complementary and alternative therapies, mechanisms of action, and patterns of use of these treatments. Logistic regression was conducted to identify predictors of complementary and alternative therapies use. Results In this study complementary therapies were used not as a substitute but in addition to conventional treatments to cure or to control the disease or to treat symptoms. A total of 326 patients (81.9 %, CI95 %: 77.8 % to 85.6 %) had received some type of complementary therapy and 81 different types of therapies were used. The most common type of complementary therapy corresponded to the group of biologically based therapies (mainly berry juices). Female family caregivers with higher educational status were more likely to use complementary therapies. Time from diagnosis and having received surgical treatment were also associated with the use of therapies. Reinforcement of the immune system appears to be the most likely mechanism of action. Conclusion A high prevalence of use of complementary therapies was found in this sample. Pediatricians need to ask their patients about complementary and alternative therapy practices considering the potential for interactions with pharmacological treatments or adverse effects.

Palavras-chave : Complementary therapies; neoplasm; prevalence; children; cross-sectional studies; caregivers; family.

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