Nutrition & Santé
Volume 11, Numéro 2, Pages 85-98

Prevalence And Characteristics Of Complementary And Alternative Medicine Used By Algerian Cancer Patients: A Cross-sectional Study At Oncology Department Of A Cancer Center In Batna

Authors : Beriala Hadjer Nour El-imane . Kessab Soumia . Drihem Iman . Boussakra Fatiha . Ben Moussa Mohammed Taher .


Abstract Introduction. The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) becomes more popular among cancer patients. In Algeria, the available literature on this subject is limited. Objective. The present study aims to investigate the prevalence, type, and characteristics of CAM used by cancer patients of the Cancer Center in Batna, Algeria. Material and methods. A cross-sectional study was conducted at the Oncology Department of Cancer Center of Batna, patients were asked to complete an anonymous pretested questionnaire administered by a pharmacy intern. Results. A sample of 56 patients diagnosed with cancer participated in this study. The mean age was 52,6 ±12,9 years old, with a sex rate of 0,4 (males/females). The prevalence of CAM use was 62.5% (35 patients). The most common types of CAM used were Islamic religious practices (41,9%) and biologically based treatments: herbal medicine (27,2%) [Ephedra alata DC. (26.8%), Annona muricata L. (17,1%), Berberis vulgaris L. (12.2%), Olea europea L. (9,8%), Nigella sativa L. (7.3%) were the most reported plants, and clinical nutrition (25.9%) was mostly represented in diets (66,7%), vitamins (9,7%) and minerals (9,7%). Interestingly, 5% of participants used acupuncture, which represented the only type of the CAM category named alternative medical systems. The most commonly cited reasons for using CAM was to treat cancer (64,0%) and to relieve moral pain (32,0%). Family and friends (59,2%), and other patients (30,6%) were the main sources of information about CAM. Statistics show that 71,4% of CAM users indicated that they did not tell their physician about using CAM for the following reasons: 40,0% “physician never asked this question” and 32,0% thought, “it was not necessary to inform the physician”. The origin of the patient whether (form Batna or not) (p = 0,015), the educational level (p = 0,008), the perception about the efficacy of CAM (p = 0,001), the current treatment (p = 0,005) and the received treatment (p=0,042) were factors associated with CAM use. Conclusion. The present study shows a high prevalence and a very low revelation of using CAM by cancer patients to their physician who should be opened about CAM discussions with their patients. Also, governmental committees should be created to develop scientific knowledge, regulations, and guidelines that ensure the proper use of CAM and its integration in the Algerian health system.


Complementary and alternative medicine ; oncology ; cancer ; Algeria ; Batna