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MSU researcher linking breast cancer patients with alternative therapies
Date:2/11/2010

EAST LANSING, Mich. Biological-based therapies such as diet supplements and vitamins are the most popular complementary and alternative medicines for women recovering from breast cancer, according to a Michigan State University researcher working to create a support intervention for women in treatment for the disease.

Gwen Wyatt of MSU's College of Nursing, in research published in the current edition of Nursing Research, analyzed which CAM therapies such as massage, supplements and reflexology are used the most and why. She looked at the five major categories of therapies: biological, mind-body, manipulative and body, energy and alternative medical systems.

"Quality of life is a research priority for the National Institutes of Health as it pertains to breast cancer," Wyatt said. "Patients link symptoms to quality of life; if you have to live with breast cancer, then let's have the highest quality of life we can during the process and make it as humane as possible."

She found that 57 percent of women are using CAM therapies, and the sicker a woman is the more likely she is to use multiple therapies. Besides biological-based therapies, the next most popular were mind-body therapies using audiotapes, video and music therapy. More than 200 women were part of the study.

"The more popular therapies selected might be rationalized by women viewing these categories as more closely aligned with their health care provider's recommendations," Wyatt said.

She is using the results of the study, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, to help women identify which therapies will be most effective for them. CAM therapies have gained widespread use in the past decade; Wyatt is currently funded by the NIH with a $3.1 million grant to study the effects of reflexology a specialized foot therapy that applies firm pressure to certain parts of the sole of the foot on symptom management and quality of life for women with br
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Contact: Jason Cody
codyja@msu.edu
517-432-0924
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

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