Survey of the use of traditional and complementary medicine among children with cancer at three hospitals in Cameroon Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractIntroductionThere is lack of diagnostic and treatment resources with variable access to childhood cancer treatment in low‐ and middle‐income countries (LMIC), which may lead to subsequent poor survival. The primary aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and types of traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) used in Cameroon. Secondarily, we explored determinants of T&CM use, associated costs, perceived benefits and harm, and disclosure of T&CM use to medical team.MethodsA prospective, cross‐sectional survey among parents and carers of children younger than 15 years of age who had a cancer diagnosis and received cancer treatment at three Baptist Mission hospitals between November 2017 and February 2019.ResultsEighty participants completed the survey. Median patient age was 8.1 years (IQR4.1‐11.1). There was significant availability (90%) and use (67.5%) of T&CM, whereas 24% thought T&CM would be good for cancer treatment. Common T&CM remedies included herbs and other plant remedies or teas taken by mouth, prayer for healing purposes and skin cutting. Living more than five hours away from the treatment center (P = 0.030), anticipated costs (0.028), and a habit of consulting a traditional healer when sick (P = 0.006) were associated with the use of T&CM. T&CM was mostly paid for in cash (53.7%) or provided free of charge (29.6%). Of importance was the fact that nearly half (44%) did not want to disclose the use of TM to their doctor.ConclusionPediatric oncology patients used T&CM before and during treatment but were unlikely to disclose its use to the child's health care team.


  • Afungchwi, Glenn M
  • Kruger, Mariana
  • Hesseling, Peter
  • van Elsland, Sabine
  • Ladas, Elena J
  • Marjerrison, Stacey

publication date

  • August 2022