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Davis GE, Bryson CL, Yueh B, McDonell MB, Micek MA, Fihn SD. Treatment delay associated with alternative medicine use among veterans with head and neck cancer. Head & neck. 2006 Oct 1; 28(10):926-31.
BACKGROUND: Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing in the United States. This study investigates whether the use of alternative medicine is associated with a delay of treatment in head and neck cancer. METHODS: This study used the records obtained from a large trial involving ambulatory care US veterans. Subjects completed a CAM utilization questionnaire. The primary outcome variable was the time duration from cancer diagnosis to the time of cancer treatment. RESULTS: Of veterans with head and neck cancer, 51% reported using some form of CAM, whereas 23% reported using a therapy classified as alternative medicine. Patients who used alternative medicine significantly delayed cancer treatment by 22 days compared with those who did not use alternative medicine (p = .05, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0-44 days). CONCLUSIONS: CAM use is common in veterans with head and neck cancer. Use of alternative medicine was associated with a significant delay in cancer treatment.(c) 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.