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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 527163, 8 pages
Research Article

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Survey of Its Use in Pediatric Oncology

1Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 4N1
2CARE Program, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0L4
3Palladian Health, West Seneca, NY 14224, USA
4Departments of Pediatrics, and of Epidemiology & Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5
5Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1S 5S8
6Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2R3
7Division of Pediatric Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1N 6N5
8Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L1
9Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and School of Public Health, University of Alberta, 8B19-11111 Jasper Ave, Edmonton General Hospital, Edmonton, AB, Canada T5K 0L4

Received 11 June 2013; Revised 20 September 2013; Accepted 23 September 2013

Academic Editor: Holger Cramer

Copyright © 2013 Rafiaa Valji et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is high among children and youths with chronic illnesses, including cancer. The objective of this study was to assess prevalence and patterns of CAM use among pediatric oncology outpatients in two academic clinics in Canada. Procedure. A survey was developed to ask patients (or their parents/guardians) presenting to oncology clinics at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa about current or previous use of CAM products and practices. Results. Of the 137 families approached, 129 completed the survey. Overall CAM use was 60.5% and was not significantly different between the two hospitals. The most commonly reported reason for not using CAM was lack of knowledge about it. The most common CAM products ever used were multivitamins (86.5%), vitamin C (43.2%), cold remedies (28.4%), teething remedies (27.5%), and calcium (23.0%). The most common CAM practices ever used were faith healing (51.0%), massage (46.8%), chiropractic (27.7%), and relaxation (25.5%). Many patients (40.8%) used CAM products at the same time as prescription drugs. Conclusion. CAM use was high among patients at two academic pediatric oncology clinics. Although most respondents felt that their CAM use was helpful, many were not discussing it with their physicians.