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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 516-522

Complementary and alternative medicine in sarcoma patients treated in an Italian sarcoma center

1 Chemotherapy Unit, IRCCS, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy
2 Statistical Service, IRCCS, Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Alessandra Longhi
Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, IRCCS, Via Pupilli 1, 40136 Bologna
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcrt.JCRT_348_20

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Background: Bone and soft-tissue sarcoma are rare tumors. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is often used in cancer patients however limited data are available in sarcoma patients. The aim of the present study is to explore the use of CAM in patients with bone and soft-tissue sarcoma. Methods: Patients in follow-up visit for high grade bone or soft-tissue sarcoma at the Rizzoli outpatient clinic from September 1, 2014, to December 31, 2015, were asked, after written consent, to fill out a questionnaire with items pertaining to sociodemographic factors and their use of CAM before, during, or after chemotherapy. Results: Four hundred and sixty-nine participated to the survey: 409 were adults and 60 were <18 years old. The percentage of use of CAM in adults was 44.7% and in minors 38.3%. The most common type of CAM was vitamins and minerals, followed by phytotherapy and homeopathy. The majority of patients used CAM after the sarcoma diagnosis. None used CAM alone instead of conventional chemotherapy. Benefits from use of CAM were reported by 75% of patients (some benefit in 53% plus high benefit in others 22%) and side effects in 6.7%. A significant correlation was found with CAM use and female gender, young age (18–44) and higher education. Disclosure to the oncologist was 56% and 69% to their family doctors. Conclusions: This study shows that CAM use is frequent among adults and pediatric patients with bone and soft tissue sarcoma as in other cancer patients. Moreover, the profile of these Italian CAM consumers in sarcoma patients is similar to other studies. Patients disclosure to their oncologist or physician about the use of CAM was similar to other Italian studies, but higher compared to other international studies.

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