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Published online: 2024-05-17

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Connect on Social Media

Connect on Social Media

Facebook counselling in the field of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among Polish breast cancer patients: a narrative review

Aneta Brygida Jędrzejewska1, Barbara Janina Ślusarska1, Grzegorz Józef Nowicki1

Abstract

Introduction: Breast cancer (BC) patients often use complementary and integrative therapies as supportive care as suggested by on-line sources during cancer treatment and when coping with the side effects of treatment. However, the evidence for the effectiveness of such therapies is limited. The aim of this review was to critically analyse Facebook's advice to women with BC regarding the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and assess their safety and effectiveness.

Methods: Narrative review.

Results: The search yielded 1,300 pieces of advice provided by the community of Facebook groups. These were analysed, and their safety and effectiveness were assessed. Many different CAM therapies were identified, which were grouped into five categories.

Conclusions: Currently, searching for information on CAM on Polish-language Facebook groups by breast cancer patients poses a risk of obtaining advice of unproven effectiveness. Patients are exposed to suggestions that they should take products that may interact with conventional treatment or that they may be persuaded to give up conventional treatment. Cancer care providers should consider the complexity and implications of the unmet need for information and support for breast cancer patients that result in seeking CAM advice on Facebook groups. Measures should be taken to ensure that breast cancer patients can find reliable evidence on CAM online in social media.

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