A considerable number of patients with brain tumors use alternative therapies, such as homeopathy, alongside their conventional treatments, researchers from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany reveal in the medical journal Neurology. The researchers discovered that approximately 40% of patients with incurable grade II to IV gliomas were found to use alternative therapies.
The most common therapies included psychological therapy, homeopathy and vitamin supplements, the authors wrote.
Study author, neurosurgeon Oliver Heese, MD, said:
- "The use of these alternative treatments may be largely overlooked and underestimated. Doctors need to be aware of patients' desire to seek alternative treatments and encourage an open discussion of options. Their guidance may be much appreciated, especially when some treatments are dubious, expensive or potentially harmful."
Older individuals, as well as males and patients with less education were less likely to use alternative treatments, compared to younger individuals, females and those with more education.
- "The majority of people are turning to alternative treatments not because they are dissatisfied with their conventional care, but because they wish to add something beneficial to their care."
- As a complement for their conventional therapy
- To build up body resistance
- To do something for the treatment by themselves
The alternative therapies included:
- 39% - homeopathy
- 31% - vitamin supplements
- 29% - a wide range of psychological methods
"Complementary therapy use in patients with glioma - An observational study"
O. Heese, MD, M. Schmidt, MD, S. Nickel, PhD, H. Berger, MD, R. Goldbrunner, MD, J.C. Tonn, MD, O. Bhär, MD, J.P. Steinbach, MD, 9. M. Simon, MD, J. Schramm, MD, D. Krex, MD, G. Schackert, MD, T. Reithmeier, MD, G. Nikkhah, MD, M. Löffler, MD, M. Weller, MD, M. Westphal, MD
Neurology December 13, 2010 vol. 75 no. 24 2229-2235
Written by Christian Nordqvist