Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Patients with Gynecologic Cancer: a Systematic Review

  • Akpunar, Dercan (Public Health Nursing Department, Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Health Sciences Institution) ;
  • Bebis, Hatice (Public Health Nursing Department, Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Health Sciences Institution) ;
  • Yavan, Tulay (Obstetric and Gynecologic Nursing Department, Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Health Sciences Institution)
  • Published : 2015.12.03


Purpose: Research carried out with gynecologic cancer patients using CAM was reviewed to provide a source for discussing which CAM method is used for which purpose, patients' perceptions on the effects/side effects occurred during/after using CAM and their sources of information regarding CAM. Materials and Methods: This literature review was carried out for the period between January 2000 and March 2015 using Scopus, Dynamed, Med-Line, Science Dırect, Ulakbim, Research Starters, Ebscohost, Cinahl Complete, Academic Onefile, Directory of Open Access Journals, BMJ Online Journals (2007-2009), Ovid, Oxford Journal, Proquest Hospital Collection, Springer-Kluwer Link, Taylor & Francis, Up To Date, Web Of Science (Citation Index), Wiley Cochrane-Evidence Base, Wiley Online Library, and Pub-Med search databases with "complementary and alternative medicine, gynecologic cancer" as keywords. After searching through these results, a total of 12 full length papers in English were included. Results: CAM use in gynecologic cancer patients was discussed in 8 studies and CAM use in breast and gynecologic cancer patients in 4. It was determined that the frequency of CAM use varies between 40.3% and 94.7%. As the CAM method, herbal medicines, vitamins/minerals were used most frequently in 8 of the studies. When the reasons why gynecologic cancer patients use CAM are examined, it is determined that they generally use to strengthen the immune system, reduce the side effects of cancer treatment and for physical and psychological relaxation. In this review, most of the gynecologic cancer patients perceived use of CAM as beneficial. Conclusions: In order that the patients obtain adequate reliable information about CAM and avoid practices which may harm the efficiency of medical treatment, it is recommended that "Healthcare Professionals" develop a common language.


Complementary medicine;alternative medicine;gynecologic cancer


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