A recent study suggests that younger cancer patients are more likely to seek out alternative treatments.
According to the Empire State Tribune, a new study surveying cancer patients across different age ranges found that younger patients were more likely to be accepting of alternative treatments.
The study examined medical data for 969 patients diagnosed with various types of cancer collected between June of 2010 and September of 2011. The data was collected from the gastrointestinal, thoracic, and medical oncology clinics at the University of Pennsylvania’s academic cancer center.
Patients were asked about the various treatments they had sought, including acupuncture, art therapy, chiropractic care, massage, yoga, special diets and herbal supplements. The average age for the sample was 59 years old, and 63 percent of the patients interviewed were white, college-educated women.
Just more than half of the patients had been diagnosed with cancer more than one year prior to the survey, and 59 percent of the patients had tried at least one type of alternative therapy since they were diagnosed.
Patients under the age of 65 were much more likely to seek benefits from alternative of complementary treatments. People who worked, or who had been living with cancer for a longer period of time, and people who had already sought alternative treatments were more likely to believe that they improved their quality of life.
Older patients, and patients with less college education were found to be less likely to believe in the benefits of alternative or complementary treatments. The study failed to distinguish between types of alternative medicines and treatments, which have a wide range of effects on different patients.
Many patients didn’t seek alternative treatments due to a lack of knowledge, lack of insurance coverage, or an inability to find a provider for the treatments.