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March 1997

Alternative Therapies for Cutaneous Disorders

Author Affiliations

Center for Alternative Medicine Research Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center 330 Brookline Ave Boston, MA 02215

Arch Dermatol. 1997;133(3):379-380. doi:10.1001/archderm.1997.03890390119017

THE ARTICLE by Sollner et al1 explores the prevalence and patterns of alternative (also known as "complementary" and "unorthodox") medical therapy use by patients suffering from malignant melanoma. To no one's surprise, interest in alternative therapies runs high in this population (54%) and the use of alternative treatment is documented in 1 of every 7 cases. These findings are consistent with several larger studies that suggest a prevalence of alternative therapy use among all patients with cancer of 11% to 25%.2-4

Sollner et al contend that patients interested in alternative medical therapies were sufficiently informed about their disease and that "their compliance with the dermatologists' recommendations and prescriptions was as high as that of patients with melanoma who expressed no interest in alternative therapy.... "1 This is consistent with the observation from a US national survey that 96% of the persons who sought the services of alternative medical

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