Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Siblings of Pediatric Cancer Patients in Germany. A Population-Based Survey


Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in children with cancer is common and probably increasing. However data concerning use of CAM in siblings of children with an oncologic disease are missing so far. We conducted a population-based survey over a one-year period with 233 participants. Of the 209 respondents (90% response rate) 20% reported CAM use from the time on when the sibling was diagnosed to have cancer, compared to a prevalence rate of 48% before cancer diagnosis. The most prevalent therapies were homeopathy, anthroposophic medicine and Bach flowers. The main reasons for use were to strengthen the immune system and to achieve physical stabilization. Socio-demographic factors associated with CAM use were higher parental education and higher family income. A majority of CAM users would recommend them. 66% of the users informed a physician about CAM use. No side effects were reported.Conclusions: There is a significant decrease in CAM use in siblings of pediatric cancer patients after ascertainment of cancer in the affected sibling. Being out of the focus seems to be the main reason for non-use. Nevertheless the 20% CAM users rate CAM as very effective and would recommend CAM use to other parents.

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Gottschling, S. , Meyer, S. , Längler, A. , Ebinger, F. , Bialas, P. and Gronwald, B. (2014) Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Siblings of Pediatric Cancer Patients in Germany. A Population-Based Survey. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 4, 93-101. doi: 10.4236/ojped.2014.41013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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