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Original Article

IJMDC. 2021; 5(12): 2103-2107

Complementary and alternative medicine among cancer patients and its complications: local experience

Ali Al-Amri, Rashed Saeed Alzahrani, Khalid Alhajri, Saleh M Alqarzea, Faisal Alzahrani, Shams Alturky.


Background: In our hospital, cancer patients are exposed to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) to cure their cancer or heal the symptoms. However, sometimes these remedies end with complications or death. This study aims to explore the benefits and difficulties of CAM among Saudi cancer patients in our region.
Methods: A cross-sectional, observational questionnaire-based study that included Saudi cancer patients treated with complementary medicine attending our hospital from 2010 to 2018.
Results: A total of 80 cancer patients participated in this study. The most prominent type of CAM was Rukaya, 30%, followed drinking Zamzam water, 26.83%. Fortunately, these two types of CAM had no complications. Drinking camel products was reported by 25% of cancer patients. This type of remedy had led to the deaths of two cancer patients. Cautery use was reported by 15% of cancer patients and had led to local infection
(cellulitis) at the cautery site in three users, and two cancer patients had succumbed to sepsis. Our patients documented no benefits.
Conclusion: In this study, CAM usage has no beneficial effects; some has reported harmful to cancer patients,
including morbidity and mortality. These findings call for the urgent need for further in-depth study of CAM products to explore their beneficial effects and point out their complications.

Key words: Rokia, cautery, cancer, camel, complementary, milk

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