Purpose: The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is very common among patients with a urological malignancy. We assessed the prevalence and patterns of use of complementary therapies among patients with bladder, prostate and renal cancers. Materials and Methods: Between May and July 2004, we conducted a survey to assess the use of CAM at 13 outpatient clinics in Korea. Seven hundred and eleven patients with bladder (269), prostate (300) or renal cancers (142) were selected to answer a self-administered questionnaire on CAM, which were then analyzed. Results: Among 711 patients with urological malignancies, 279 (39.2%) had been treated with at least one type of CAM, in addition to conventional Western treatment. The cancer patients treated with radiation therapy or immunotherapy were more likely to employ CAM than those using other therapies. Age, gender, cancer type, occupations, religions, level of education and disease status (stable or progressive) were not associated with the prevalence of CAM. 44.3% of CAM users wanted to discuss CAM techniques with their doctors, but only 24.8% received an explanation of there use. Conclusions: CAM is used by a large number of patients with urological malignancies, particularly in those undergoing radiation therapy or immunotherapy. Urologists need to have an accurate knowledge and apprehension of CAM. The possible effects and side effects should be defined, with appropriate guidelines recommended for patients with a urological malignancy.
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