Differences between older and younger cancer survivors in seeking cancer information and using complementary/alternative medicine

Jill A. Bennett, Linda D. Cameron, Lisa C. Whitehead, David Porter

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    20 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to describe the differences between younger and older cancer survivors in seeking cancer information, using complementary and alternative medical (CAM) services, and using conventional support services. DESIGN AND METHODS: Participants were 836 survivors of adult cancers (6 months-43 years since completion of primary cancer treatment) in New Zealand who answered a mailed questionnaire between April 2007 and January 2008. RESULTS: Younger survivors (aged <60 years at diagnosis) were more likely to seek information from sources beyond their physicians and used different sources for that information, compared to older survivors. Older and younger survivors used similar conventional support services, but different CAM services. In logistic regression analyses, information-seekers were 5.9 times more likely to use CAM than those who did not seek cancer information (p=0.02), but the association between information-seeking and CAM use depended on age (p=0.02). Older cancer survivors who did not seek information from sources beyond that provided by physicians were less likely to use CAM. IMPLICATIONS: Physicians should consider talking to older cancer survivors about their use of information sources or CAM therapies. A conversation between physician and patient may uncover inaccurate information or CAM use that has potential for adverse effects, while allowing the physician to encourage CAM that is potentially useful. Even a brief conversation may be sufficient to encourage older cancer survivors to take action themselves to find services that support their recovery from cancer and cancer treatment.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1089-1094
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of general internal medicine
    Volume24
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

    Keywords

    • CAM
    • Cancer
    • Information-seeking
    • Older adults
    • Support services

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Internal Medicine

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