Use of complementary and
alternative medicine (CAM) in children with cancer is common and probably
increasing. However data concerning use of CAM in siblings of children with an
oncologic disease are missing so far. We conducted a population-based survey
over a one-year period with 233 participants. Of the 209 respondents (90%
response rate) 20% reported CAM use from the time on when the sibling was
diagnosed to have cancer, compared to a prevalence rate of 48% before cancer
diagnosis. The most prevalent therapies were homeopathy, anthroposophic
medicine and Bach flowers. The main reasons for use were to strengthen the
immune system and to achieve physical stabilization. Socio-demographic factors
associated with CAM use were higher parental education and higher family
income. A majority of CAM users would recommend them. 66% of the users informed a physician
about CAM use. No side effects were reported.Conclusions: There is a
significant decrease in CAM use in siblings of pediatric cancer patients after
ascertainment of cancer in the affected sibling. Being out of the focus seems
to be the main reason for non-use. Nevertheless the 20% CAM users rate CAM as
very effective and would recommend CAM use to other parents.
Cite this paper
Gottschling, S. , Meyer, S. , Längler, A. , Ebinger, F. , Bialas, P. and Gronwald, B. (2014) Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Siblings of Pediatric Cancer Patients in Germany. A Population-Based Survey. Open Journal of Pediatrics
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