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Pediatric Cancer Patients Report Substantial Improvement With Alternative Care

If the results of a survey of pediatric cancer patients in western Washington state are typical of the rest of the country, nearly three-quarters of all pediatric cancer patients use alternative therapies to treat the cancer or cope with side effects from standard medical treatments.

That was the conclusion of the survey conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center which appeared in the November 2001 issue of Preventive Medicine.

The survey was the first population-based study in the United States to look at use alternative medicine use in children with cancer.

Marian L. Neuhouser, Ph.D., R.D., and colleagues in the Hutchinson Center's Public Health Sciences Division led the study, which was supported by grants from the National Cancer Institute and funds from the Hutchinson Center. Researchers at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash., also consulted on the project.

"The use of alternative medicine is well known among adult cancer patients, but until now, little has been known about the use of these therapies in children with cancer," said Dr. Neuhouser, a senior staff scientist in cancer-prevention research.

"The bottom line is that the majority of pediatric cancer patients in western Washington -- 73% of those surveyed -- are using some form of alternative medicine or therapy. In addition, most patients and their families report substantial improvements in health and well-being as a result of using alternative medicine," she said.

The survey was based on telephone interviews with the parents of 75 living pediatric cancer patients (ages 0-18 years) who had been first diagnosed with invasive cancer between February 1997 and December 1998.

Since there is no single, consistent definition of alternative medicine in the published literature or in the mind of the public, the researchers based their survey on the "domains" of alternative medicine described by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

To streamline the survey process, the researchers collapsed the domains into three subgroups: alternative providers, dietary supplements and "other" therapies (diet or physical activity; mental and spiritual therapies such as prayer, meditation and support groups; and energetic interventions such as crystals and magnets).

Patients were considered a user of alternative medicine if they received care from an alternative provider within the past year or had used at least one alternative supplement or therapy.

The most pervasive form of alternative treatment among those surveyed was the use of herbal and high-dose vitamin supplements, which were used, respectively, by 54% and 59% of the patients, many of whom also used several such products simultaneously.

More than 20% of patients surveyed received care from an alternative provider such as a naturopathic doctor, Native American healer or massage therapist. The vast majority (90%) of such alternative providers and mental therapies were used to treat cancer symptoms or treatment side effects.

About a third of alternative providers and dietary supplements were used to prevent recurrence or spread of the cancer. The most common alternative intervention, however, was the use of herbs and dietary supplements to promote general health and treat non-cancer conditions, such as colds.

Parents attributed substantial improvement in their child's health and well-being to alternative treatments and therapies. Between 60% and 90% reported improvements due to alternative providers, vitamin and herbal supplements, dietary changes, physical activity, and mental and spiritual therapies.

There was no association between disease progression and use of alternative medicine, contrary to previous studies in adults that supposedly found a positive relationship between the two.

SOURCE: "Majority of pediatric cancer patients use alternative therapies," Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Oct. 31, 2001.; " Use of Alternative Medicine by Children with Cancer in Washington State, by Marian L. Neuhouser, et. al., Preventive Medicine, Nov. 1, 2001.

Our chiropractic office educates our patients in lifestyle changes that compliment their spinal care. Chiropractic spinal adjustments strengthen areas of the spine and restore impaired nerve flow. Subluxations occur when vertebra misalign irritating delicate spinal nerves. Spinal adjustments remove the nerve pressure and restore function to the body. Chiropractic spinal adjustments by our chiropractors help you live your life to its fullest through a properly functioning nervous system. When your nervous system is functioning properly you express life to your fullest. Chiropractic spinal adjustments enable you to express your God given health potential and to live your life to fullest capabilities. Neck pain, back pain, sciatica, reduced immunity, ear infections, decreased energy, stomach disorders, asthma, allergies, sinus problems, headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, shoulder problems, sports injuries, spinal disc degeneration, osteoarthritis, numbness, pain, are just some of the signs of improper function in the body and conditions that benefit from Chiropractic spinal adjustments. Don't delay and wait for a spinal problem to develop before you seek out Chiropractic care. Get a Chiropractic spinal adjustment and deal with the cause of your problems rather than masking it with medications which often deal just with the symptoms. Whether you are feel great and want to ensure a healthy and fully functional future or if you are in pain and seek the safe and effective proven results of Chiropractic spinal adjustments, you owe it to yourself to have a spinal check up and to start down the healthy road of lifetime Chiropractic care.

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