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Use of herbs in women diagnosed with ovarian tcancer
  1. C. B Powell1,
  2. S. L Dibble2,
  3. J. E Dall'Era1 and
  4. I Cohen3
  1. 1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and
  2. 2 Center for Lesbian Health Research, Institute for Health and Aging, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California, and
  3. 3 American Acupuncture Center, Berkeley, California


The purpose of this study was to explore the use of herbs among women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Of 113 consecutive ovarian cancer patients identified in a gynecologic clinic in a major academic medical center in San Francisco, 41 patients were successfully contacted, were eligible, and participated in a telephone survey. We contacted women identified consecutively in the clinic database as having ovarian cancer and sent a letter introducing our research team and asking for help. Members of the research team then contacted the women to conduct the telephone interviews. Fifty-one percent (95% CI 35–67) of the women had taken herbs sometime since they were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Most herb uses occurred concurrently with chemotherapy. Only 12% (95% CI 4–26) used an herbalist or other health practitioner for guidance in herb use. Only one woman took herbs instead of chemotherapy. A large number of women attending our practice in the San Francisco Bay area use herbs as complementary medicine during their cancer treatment.

  • chemotherapy
  • complementary therapy
  • herbs
  • ovarian cancer
  • research
  • symptom management

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