Use of traditional and complementary medicine among Norwegian cancer patients in the 7th Tromsø study
Methods - Data was drawn from the 7th Tromsø study conducted in 2015-2016. All inhabitants of Tromsø aged 40 and above were invited to participate (n=32,591) of whom n=21,083 accepted the invitation (response rate 65%). Data was collected thorough three self-administered questionnaires and a comprehensive clinical examination. Pearson chi-square tests and one-way ANOVA tests were used to describe differences between the groups while binary logistic regressions were used for adjusted values.
Results - Eight percent of the population (n=1,636) reported to have (n=404) or have had (n=1,232) cancer. Of these, 33.4% reported to have used T&CM, where of 13.6% had consulted a T&CM provider, 17.9% had used herbal medicine and 6.4% had practiced self-help techniques during the last year. The participants with cancer at present were more likely to have visited a T&CM provider than participants with cancer previously (13.6% vs. 8.7%, p=0.020). Among the participants with cancer at present, 6.4% reported to have consulted a TM provider, 5.8% had consulted an acupuncturist, while 4.7% had consulted other CM providers. Women were significantly more likely than men to have used acupuncture and self-help techniques. No significant differences were found between women and men regarding visits to other CM providers, TM providers nor use of herbal medicine.
Conclusion - The findings in this study suggest that both men and women in Norway use traditional medicine as a supplement to other complementary modalities outside the official health care system. As herbal medicine might interact with conventional cancer treatment, health care providers need to discuss such use with their patients.