Complementary and alternative medicine use in colorectal cancer patients in seven European countries

Alexander Molassiotis, Paz Fernandez-Ortega, Dorit Pud, Gulten Ozden, Nurgun Platin, Sandra Hummerston, Julia A. Scott, Vassiliki Panteli, Gudbjorg Gudmundsdottir, Sarka Selvekerova, Elisabeth Patiraki, Nora Kearney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of the present study was to examine the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in a sample of colorectal cancer patients in Europe. Methods: The study was a descriptive cross-sectional survey and data were collected through a 27-item self-reported questionnaire from seven European countries. Results: As part of a larger study, 126 colorectal cancer patients participated in this survey. Among the participants, 32% used CAM after the diagnosis of cancer. Almost half the CAM therapies used were new therapies, never tried before the diagnosis. The most common CAM therapies used included herbal medicine (48.7%), homeopathy (20.5%), use of vitamins/minerals (17.9%), spiritual therapies (15.4%), medicinal teas (15.4%) and relaxation techniques (12.8%). A dramatic increase was observed in the use of CAM from usage levels before the cancer diagnosis. High levels of satisfaction with CAM were also reported. Patients used CAM more often to increase the body's ability to fight the cancer or to improve physical well-being. However, expectations did not always match with the benefits reported. Conclusions: As one-third of colorectal cancer patients use CAM, health professionals should be more aware of this approach to the patient's management. They should discuss the role of CAM therapies with their patients in a non-judgemental and open manner, and endeavour to provide accurate information in order to allow patients to make their own decision about CAM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-257
Number of pages7
JournalComplementary Therapies in Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Alternative medicine
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Complementary medicine
  • Complementary therapies
  • Europe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and Manual Therapy
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


Dive into the research topics of 'Complementary and alternative medicine use in colorectal cancer patients in seven European countries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this