Wednesday, 24 May 2017

A French survey on the resort of oral alternative complementary medicines used in children with cancer

2015 Oct;102(10):854-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bulcan.2015.06.008. Epub 2015 Sep 19.


[Article in French]

Author information

Institute of Paediatric Hematology and Oncology (IHOP), Pharmacy Department, 69008 Lyon, France.
Institute of Paediatric Hematology and Oncology (IHOP), Oncology Department, 69008 Lyon, France.
Institute of Paediatric Hematology and Oncology (IHOP), Pharmacy Department, 69008 Lyon, France; Institute of Paediatric Hematology and Oncology (IHOP), Hematology Department, 69008 Lyon, France. Electronic address:



The use of oral complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widespread among cancer patients, but considerably less known in pediatric cancer patients. Our survey was conducted in a pediatric onco-hematology unit to study the frequency and the circumstances of CAM use.


This study included 50 children treated for malignant diseases. A questionnaire was used to collect support general data on the child as well as information on the CAM use. One of the child's parents was interviewed.


Most of parents (48%) used one or more CAM for their child in the context of cancer. The most used type of CAM was homeopathy, dietary supplements and aromatherapy. The most frequent goal for CAM use was to limit the side effects of conventional treatment (75% of parents). For 87.5% of users, the CAM was effective. Physicians were not aware of this use for 33.3% of users, in spite of the fact that the family physician was the main source of information for this use. Most of parents (48%) needed more information about the CAM and they bought CAM in a pharmacy.


The use of oral CAM in this survey was common. For most parents, this use was effective and appreciated because they generated fewer side effects than conventional treatments. However, doctors were not systematically informed of this use. This is problematic because some CAM such as herbal supplements could potentially cause interactions with cancer treatments. More information about CAM is necessary in pediatric onco-hematology.


Cancer; Children; Compléments alimentaires; Enfant; Homéopathie; Interaction; Médecines alternatives et complémentaires; Oral alternative complementary medicines; Phytothérapie