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565 Herbal medicine use in female cancer patients
  1. Cyrine Mokrani,
  2. Khadija Ben Zid,
  3. Najla Attia,
  4. Alia Mousli,
  5. Rim Abidi and
  6. Chiraz Nasr
  1. Radiotherapy Departement, Salah Azaiz Institute, Tunis, Tunisia


Introduction/Background Alternatives therapies in oncology is a topic of interest and concern. Many patients chose to explore herbal medicine in the hope of enhancing the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatments and improving quality of life. However, this approach has several negative effects usually unknow by the patients.

Methodology A survey of 50 female patients attending oncology departments at Salah Azaiz Institute in Tunisia, to assess their knowledge and use of herbal medicine.

Results Twenty patients (40%) reported using herbal medicine since diagnosis. Their average age was 54 years (42 - 68 years). Fifteen patients (75%) had poor financial situation. Half of them were illiterate (40%). The majority came from a rural background (75%). Breast cancer was predominant (50%) followed by endometrial and ovarian cancer (25%). These herbal medicine users were taking several plants, with the most frequent being Globularia Trichosantha (65%) and Ephedra Alata (25%). Eighty- five percent opted for oral consumption and prefer to use it as infusion (75%) followed by honey (10%) and powder (15%). Intravaginal instillation was noticed in one patient. No correlation was found between the education level and the herbal medicine use. All ignored the potential toxicities resulting from this approach. Thirty-five percent of the patients reported side effects. The most frequently reported were hepatitis (35%) and renal insufficiency (10%), with one death among them. Patients who developed hepatic insufficiency were undergoing chemotherapy with liver metastases (p=0.002). The usage of herbal medicine was based on social media and internet sources (50%).

Conclusion There is a high prevalence of herbal medicine among cancer patients. Due to the probable side effects and drug interactions, physicians must emphasize the importance of awareness.

Disclosures The authors declare no competing interests.

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