Till now, studies of CAM use by people with cancer have not focused specifically on women with lung cancer. However, a new study by researchers from several nursing schools throughout the United States and from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston surveyed 189 women with non–small cell lung cancer to determine their use of six complementary and alternative therapies.
Researchers found that 44% of women surveyed used CAM therapies in the following order: prayer (34.9%), meditation (11.6%), tea (11.6%), herbs (9%), massage (6.9%) and acupuncture (2.6%). The primary reasons given for using these therapies were to cope with difficult breathing and pain. Women who were younger, who had more symptoms and who lived either on the West Coast or in the South were more likely to seek out CAM methods.
Study authors advised that those who work with people with lung cancer should be aware of the prevalence of CAM therapy use. Further research could shed light on their value for helping women with lung cancer manage their symptoms.
The study appeared in Cancer Nursing (2007; 30 , 45–55).