Association between Physical Activity and Use of Complementary Medicine by Female Oncology Patients in an Integrative Palliative Care Setting

Orit Gressel Raz, Noah Samuels, Moti Levy, Michelle Leviov, Ofer Lavie, Eran Ben-Arye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine the association between physical activity and the reported use of complementary medicine by patients with breast and gynecological cancer referred or self-referred to a complementary/integrative medicine (CIM) consultation within a palliative care context. Methods: Retrospective observational study analyzing the medical files of patients referred to a CIM consultation provided within a specialized integrative oncology clinic for demographic and cancer-related parameters; participation in physical exercise and activities; and current use of nonconventional medical practices. Quality of life (QoL) outcomes were assessed during the initial CIM consultation by using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) tool. Results: Among the 162 patient files examined, participation in physical activities was reported in 152, of whom 83 were identified as active and 69 inactive according to the American Cancer Society guidelines. A logistic multivariate regression model showed that physical activity was associated with higher rates of herbal/dietary supplement use for noncancer-related outcomes (odds ratio = 7.21, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6-32.46, p = 0.01); more frequently reported use of acupuncture for cancer-related outcomes (odds ratio = 7.79, 95% CI 1.93-31.5, p = 0.004); and lower ESAS scores for well-being (odds ratio = 0.77, 95% CI 1.0.65-0.92, p = 0.004), indicating better QoL. Conclusion: Physical activity was found to be associated with a greater use of CIM (specifically herbal/dietary supplement use and acupuncture) in patients with breast and gynecological cancer during oncology treatment. Further research is needed to explore whether CIM use and physical activity are influenced by patients' health-belief models of care, and whether the CIM consultation can promote physical activity among these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-728
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • alternative medicine
  • cancer
  • complementary medicine
  • integrative medicine
  • physical activity
  • quality of life


Dive into the research topics of 'Association between Physical Activity and Use of Complementary Medicine by Female Oncology Patients in an Integrative Palliative Care Setting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this