Use of complementary and alternative medicine and spiritual practices among women with ovarian carcinoma in the southeastern United States.

Academic Article


  • 15048 Background: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among women with gynecologic malignancies has been described in a number of studies from the Midwestern and Western United States. There is limited data on the use of CAM in women with gynecologic malignancies in the Southeastern United States. Therefore, we sought to evaluate the use of CAM and spiritual practices among women with ovarian carcinoma in the Southeastern United States. METHODS: Women with the diagnosis of ovarian carcinoma undergoing chemotherapy were recruited from the gynecologic oncology clinic. Patients underwent a face-to-face interview by a research assistant regarding their use of CAM as well as their spiritual practices. RESULTS: 39 women participated in the interview. 26 patients (67%) had used CAM since being diagnosed with cancer. CAM use was not affected by age, annual income, or number of treatments. The majority of women who used CAM had a college education or higher (69%). The most frequently used CAM therapies included mind-body techniques (44%), herbal therapy (38%), and dietary supplements (28%). The most common mind-body technique was music therapy (28%) followed by meditation (21%). The most common dietary supplement used was fish oil, and the most common herbal therapy was green tea (77%). 28% of patients had used an alternative health care provider, most commonly a chiropractor (13%). The most common reason for using CAM was relief of side-effects from treatment (28%). All patients reported some use of spiritual practices. 95% of patients pray with 90% having asked others to pray for their health. 82% had spoken to a religious figure and 26% had a religious sacrament performed for their health. 87% of patients would like their physician to pray with them. CONCLUSION: Patients with ovarian cancer in the Southeastern United States frequently use CAM including mind-body techniques, herbal therapy, and dietary supplements. The majority of patients believe that spirituality is an important aspect of their cancer therapy. Physicians should be aware of the number of patients who incorporate CAM and spirituality into their standard therapy. No significant financial relationships to disclose.
  • Published In

    Pubmed Id

  • 9714081
  • Author List

  • Spannuth WA; Estes JM; Powell L; Straughn JM; Partridge EE; Parham GP
  • Start Page

  • 15048
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 18_suppl