Article Data

  • Views 520
  • Dowloads 147

Original Research

Open Access

Complementary and alternative medicine. Use and challenges among gynaecological cancer patients in Nigeria: experiences in a tertiary health institution - preliminary results

  • T.O. Nwankwo1,*,
  • L. Ajah1
  • I.V. Ezeome1
  • U.A. Umeh1
  • U.U. Aniebue1

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria

DOI: 10.12892/ejgo4429.2019 Vol.40,Issue 1,February 2019 pp.101-105

Accepted: 23 October 2017

Published: 10 February 2019

*Corresponding Author(s): T.O. Nwankwo E-mail:


Background: Cancer patients have keyed into increasing global interest in the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). There are few studies on CAM use among gynaecological cancer patients in our environment. Objective: To determine the prevalence, pattern and challenges of use of CAM among gynaecological cancer patients in UNTH Enugu, Nigeria. Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive cross sectional study of gynaecological cancer patients seen in a referral tertiary centre in Nigeria. Data was extracted using semi-structured questionnaires and analysed with software for SPSS version 17 using descriptive and inferential statistic. A p value ≤ 0.05 was deemed statistically significant. Result: The mean age of 95 patients studied was 50.9 ± 11 years with CAM use prevalence of 64.3%. The majority (73.8%) used herbal medicine and in 60.7% recommendation was by friends and relatives. Cancer of the cervix was commonest (44.2%) followed by ovarian (32.6%). Most (75%) CAM users reported delayed presentation to hospitals. Longer duration of illness and monthly income less than expenditure were significant factors among CAM users (p = 0.00002 and p = 0.02 respectively). Those that had recommendation of CAM by friends and relatives significantly experienced delayed presentation (p = 0.0017). Conclusion: CAM use was common among gynaecological cancer patients with herbs bring predominantly used in this environment. Respondents whose monthly income was less than their expenses and those whose duration of illness were longer at the point of diagnosis were significantly common users of CAM. CAM use was likely to be abused, hence physicians should inquire into CAM use and offer insights, potential benefits, and adversities of CAM to their patients.


Complementary and alternative medicine; Gynaecological cancer

Cite and Share

T.O. Nwankwo,L. Ajah,I.V. Ezeome,U.A. Umeh,U.U. Aniebue. Complementary and alternative medicine. Use and challenges among gynaecological cancer patients in Nigeria: experiences in a tertiary health institution - preliminary results. European Journal of Gynaecological Oncology. 2019. 40(1);101-105.


[1] Montazeri A., Sajadian A., Ebrahimi M., Haghighat S., Harirchi I.: “Factors predicting the use of complementary and alternative therapies among cancer patients in Iran”. Eur, J, Cancer Care (Engl.), 2007, 16, 144.

[2] Molassiotis A., Browal M., Milovics L., Panteli V., Patiraki E., Fernandez-Ortega P.: “Complementary and alternative medicine use in patients with gynaecological cancer in Europe”. Int. J. Gynecol. Cancer, 2006, 16, 219.

[3] Ferlay J., Soerjomataram I., Ervik M., Dikshit R., Eser S., Mathers C, Rebelo M., et al.: GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11”. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer; 2013. Available at:

[4] Bray F., Ren J.S., Masuyer E., Ferlay J.: “Estimates of global cancer prevalence for 27 sites in the adult population in 2008”. Int. J. Cancer, 2013, 132, 1133.

[5] Spadacio C., Barros N.F.: “Use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients: systematic review”. Rev. Saudi Publications, 2008, 42. 158. [In Portuguese]

[6] World Health Orgaization: “General guideline for methodologies on research and evaluation of traditional medicine”. WHO/EDM/TRM/2000.1. Geneva: 2000. Available at:

[7] “Complementary and alternative therapies”. Cancer Australia, 2010, Available at:

[8] Ezeome E.R., Anarado A.N.: “Use of complementary and alternative medicine by cancer patients at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria”. Complement. Ther. Med., 2007, 7, 28.

[9] Nazik E., Nazik H., Apia M., Kale A., Aksu M.: “Complementary and alternative medicine use by gynaecological oncology patients in Turkey”. Asian Pac. J. Cancer Prev., 2012, 12, 21.

[10] Furlow M.L., Patel D.A., Sen A., Liu J.R.: “Physician and patients altitude towards complementary and alternative medicine in obstetrics and gynaecology”. Complement. Ther. Med., 2008, 8, 35.

[11] Fennell C.W., Lindley K.L., Malawi L.J., Spare L.J., Stafford G.I., Elgorashi E.E., et al.: “Assessing African medicinal plants for efficacy and safety: pharmacological screening and toxicology’. J. Ethnophramcol., 2004, 94, 205.

[12] Sowemimo A., van de Venter M., Baatjies L., Koekemoer T.: “Cytotoxic activity of selected Nigerian plants”. Afr. J. Traditional CAM, 2009, 6, 526. Avilable at:

[13] Adewunmi C.O., Ojewole A.O.L.: “Safety of traditional medicines, Complementary and alternative medicines in Africa”. Afr. J. Traditional CAM, 2004, 1, 1. Available at:

[14] Tas F., Ustuner Z., Can G., Eralp Y., Camlica H., Basaran M. et al.: “The prevalence and determinants of the use of complementary and alternative medicine in adult Turkish cancer patients”. Acta Oncologica, 2005, 44, 161.

[15] Er O., Mistik S., Ozkan M., Ozturk A., Altinbas M.: “Factors related to complementary/alternative Medicine use among cancer patients in central Anatolia”. Tutorial, 2008, 94, 833.

[16] Yildirim Y., Tinar S., York until S., Toz E., Kaya B., Sonmez S., et al.: “The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies by Turkish women with gynaecological cancer”. Eur. J. Gynaecol. Oncol., 2006, 27, 81. Available at: med/16550977.

[17] Swisher E.M., Cohn D.E., Goff B.A., Parham J., Herzegovina T.J., Radyr J.S., et al.: “Use of complementary and alternative medicine among women with gynecological cancers”. Gynecol. Oncol., 2002, 84, 363.

[18] Harris P., Finland I.G., Cook A., Thomas K.J., Hood K.: “Complementary and alternative medicine use by patients with cancer in Wales: a cross sectional survey”. Complement. Ther. Med., 2003, 11, 249.

[19] Gerson-Cwilich R., Serrano-Olvera A., Villalobos-Prieto A.: “Complementary and alternative medicine(CAM) in Mexican patients with cancer”. Clin. Transl. Oncol., 2006, 8, 200.

[20] Lengacher C.A., Bennett M.P., Kipp K.E., Berarducci A., Cox C.E.: “Design and testing of the use of a complementary and alternative therapies survey in women with breast cancer”. Oncol. Nurs. Forum, 2003, 30, 811.

[21] Farooqui M., Hassali M.A., Shatar A.K.A., Farooqui M.A., Salem F., Haq N., Othman C.N.: “Use of complementary and alternative medicine among Malaysian cancer patients: A descriptive study”. J. Tradit. Complement. Med., 2015, 6, 321.

[22] Iyoke A.C., Ugwu G.O.: “Burden of gynaecological cancers in developing countries”. World J. Obstet. Gynaecol., 2013, 2, 1.

Abstracted / indexed in

Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch) Created as SCI in 1964, Science Citation Index Expanded now indexes over 9,500 of the world’s most impactful journals across 178 scientific disciplines. More than 53 million records and 1.18 billion cited references date back from 1900 to present.

Biological Abstracts Easily discover critical journal coverage of the life sciences with Biological Abstracts, produced by the Web of Science Group, with topics ranging from botany to microbiology to pharmacology. Including BIOSIS indexing and MeSH terms, specialized indexing in Biological Abstracts helps you to discover more accurate, context-sensitive results.

Google Scholar Google Scholar is a freely accessible web search engine that indexes the full text or metadata of scholarly literature across an array of publishing formats and disciplines.

JournalSeek Genamics JournalSeek is the largest completely categorized database of freely available journal information available on the internet. The database presently contains 39226 titles. Journal information includes the description (aims and scope), journal abbreviation, journal homepage link, subject category and ISSN.

Current Contents - Clinical Medicine Current Contents - Clinical Medicine provides easy access to complete tables of contents, abstracts, bibliographic information and all other significant items in recently published issues from over 1,000 leading journals in clinical medicine.

BIOSIS Previews BIOSIS Previews is an English-language, bibliographic database service, with abstracts and citation indexing. It is part of Clarivate Analytics Web of Science suite. BIOSIS Previews indexes data from 1926 to the present.

Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition aims to evaluate a journal’s value from multiple perspectives including the journal impact factor, descriptive data about a journal’s open access content as well as contributing authors, and provide readers a transparent and publisher-neutral data & statistics information about the journal.

Submission Turnaround Time