Susan G Komen  
I've Been Diagnosed With Breast Cancer Someone I Know Was Diagnosed Share Your Story Join Us And Stay Informed Donate To End Breast Cancer
Home > Understanding Breast Cancer > Who's Using Complementary Therapies


Who's Using Complementary Therapies



Breast Cancer 101 (Interactive Multimedia) - Integrative and Complementary Therapies
Macromedia Flash


How many people use complementary therapies?

The use of complementary therapies is popular in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 40 percent of adults in the U.S. have used one of these therapies in the past year [2]. Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, estimates of the use of complementary therapies ranges from about 15 percent to more than 80 percent [3-10].   

Use of complementary therapies in healthcare settings

As complementary therapies become more popular and the science behind them continues to grow, conventional medical centers are integrating these therapies and providers into their systems (called integrative therapies or "integrative medicine"). An American Hospital Association study found about 27 percent of hospitals offer complementary therapies [11]. Cancer treatment centers seem to lead the way in integrative medicine, with many offering complementary therapies (such as acupuncture, massage, qi gong and meditation) alongside conventional treatment [12].

To find a cancer treatment center that offers integrative medicine, visit   

Ethnicity and complementary therapies

It isn't clear whether the use of complementary therapies varies among different racial and ethnic groups. Some studies have shown similar rates of use across racial and ethnic groups [7,13-14]. Others have found differing rates, especially in the type of complementary therapies people have tried [2,5,15]. Some studies have shown African Americans were more likely than other racial groups to use mind and body therapies (like prayer and support groups), while whites were more likely to use manipulative and body-based practices (like chiropractic and massage) [2,5].   

Spanish language materials on complementary therapies

We offer a Spanish language version of the information on the integrative and complementary therapies discussed in this section of Understanding Breast Cancer.

Updated 06/22/12

previous  Major Categories of Complementary Therapies 
Why Do People Use Complementary Therapies?  next