Indian cancer patients are often presented with incurable diseases at the late stage of disease progression. The use of Traditional Complementary and Alternative Medicine (TCAM) has been identified by Indian oncologists as a potential factor for the delay in treatment.
Aim:Study disease status differences between TCAM and non-TCAM users among cancer patients in India
Total10200 patients of our institute were interviewed from Jan 2000 to Dec 2010. Age distribution was 1 month to 91 years, (mean 44.2 ). Male (54%) , lung (14%), oral cavity (11%) colon (6%) patients were little predominating compared to the female (46%) , The most frequent reported malignancy in female was breast (30%), uterine cervix (21%), gall bladder (11%) ovary (10%). Among paediatrics ALL (32.4%), Ewings Sarcoma (21.2%), Rhabdomyosarcoma (16.1%) and Brain tumour (13.6%).80% (8160) patients responded fully to the interview regarding the use of TCAM.
A significant proportion of 42% (3629) used TCAM. The most common type of practice in this cohort was Ayurveda. 25% (2160) ,Homeopathy 22% (1901) and others 14%(1210) had used local TM practices (e.g. Siddha Meditation, Acupuncture and Reiki ) before coming to our institute.90% of them have used TCAM and presented in 3rd stage (50%) or 4th stage (40%) of the disease. 60% of the total patient (5184) who came for consultation are maximally in 1st and 2nd stage of the disease(22% stage I, 18% II , 12% III and rest Stage IV of the disease)
Early diagnosis and intervention is effective . Delays in presentation related to the use of TCAM may be an important factor relating to the high rates of advanced disease on presentation and low survival rates. Lower socio-economic pattern of rural India, absence of facilities lack of awareness are the major factors in presentation of Cancer in the advanced stage.