Hebbie Posted June 7, 2004 Share Posted June 7, 2004 Cancer patients pray, use herbs, but quietly Posted: June 07, 2004 NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Eighty-five percent of U.S. cancer patients turn to prayer when they learn they have cancer, U.S. researchers said on Sunday. A study of 750 patients around the country found that most use prayer, relaxation techniques, exercise and sometimes herbs or megavitamins on top of their medical therapies. "We were a bit surprised by how many people were using these techniques," said Jennifer Yates, an information analyst at the University of Rochester in New York who led the study. "And we don't really know why they're using them -- to beat the cancer or to ease the side effects of treatment. Those are questions we still have to ask." Speaking to a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in New Orleans, Yates said 85 percent of the patients surveyed used prayer as a cancer treatment technique. "It's not surprising that people facing serious illnesses pray, or have others praying for them. They believe it may have a positive impact on their overall health and well-being," said Yates, whose work was funded by the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society. About a quarter of those surveyed said they used large doses of vitamins or changed their diets to improve their health. Just last week the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, one of the National Institutes of Health, released a report saying more than 60 percent of Americans overall used prayer or other alternative or complementary therapies. But most of the patients said they never mentioned these outside techniques to their doctors. "The typical doctor-patient encounter often leaves no room or time for a discussion of alternative and complementary therapies," said Rochester oncologist Dr. Jennifer Griggs. "In addition, many patients do not want to discuss issues of spirituality with their doctors. On the other hand, it is important that patients tell their doctors what herbs or other medications they are taking to prevent interactions between cancer therapies and their complementary therapies." Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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