Prevalence and Correlates of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use among Cancer Patients in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital, Sokoto, Nigeria
Background: The rate of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use among cancer patients is on the increase worldwide. This is due to the innate urge among humans to try new and alternative ways of medicine, especially where conventional medicine failed to provide satisfactory solution such as in sickle cell disease and cancer. Objective: To assess the prevalence and correlates of CAM use among cancer patients in Usmanu Danfodiyo University Teaching Hospital (UDUTH), Sokoto, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: A cross‑sectional study was conducted among 240 cancer patients selected by systematic sampling technique from July to September 2016. Data were collected using a semi‑structured standardized questionnaire. Results: The mean age of the study participants was 45 ± 13.7 years. Majority, 159 (66.3%) of the 240 respondents, were CAM users, with the most common methods being prayer (30.8%) and herbal therapy (28.3%). Majority of CAM users (64.2%) did not derive any benefit from CAM use, but rather reported adverse effects such as nausea and vomiting (52.5%) and diarrhea (44.2%). Physicians were unaware of CAM use in most cases (87.4%), and this was majorly attributed to the physicians not asking them about CAM use. Male sex and absence of comorbidities were the predictors of CAM use identified. Conclusion: The prevalence of CAM use is high among cancer patients in UDUTH, Sokoto, Nigeria, but the physicians were largely unaware of CAM use due to communication gap. These findings underscore the need for physicians to consistently ask their patients on CAM use, while government should enact laws regulating CAM use in Nigeria.
Keywords: Cancer patients, complementary and alternative medicine, correlates, prevalence