Integrative oncology research in the Middle East: weaving traditional and complementary medicine in supportive care.¬†Ben-Arye E, Ali-Shtayeh MS, Nejmi M, Schiff E, Hassan E, Mutafoglu K, Afifi FU, Jamous RM, Lev E, Silbermman M.¬†Integrative Oncology Program, The Oncology Service and Lin Medical Center, Clalit Health Services, Haifa and Western Galilee District, 35 Rothschild St, Haifa, Israel, 35152, [email protected] Support Care Cancer. 2011 Mar 1.

INTRODUCTION: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has an important role in supportive cancer care in the Middle East and is often used in association with traditional medicine. This article provides a comprehensive review of published data on CAM research in supportive cancer care in the Middle East.

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METHODS AND RESULTS: A multi-disciplinary Middle-Eastern Research Group in Integrative Oncology (MERGIO) was established in six countries. Authors independently searched Medline database for articles in Arabic, Hebrew, French, and Turkish using oncology and CAM-related keywords. Articles were recorded according to the first author’s affiliation with an academic or clinical institution in the Middle East.

RESULTS: We identified 143 articles on CAM and cancer care that had been published in12 Middle-Eastern countries. Eighty-five articles were directly related to cancer supportive care.

The latter included studies on the prevalence of CAM use by patients with cancer, aspects related to of doctor-patient communication, ethics and regulation, psychosocial aspects of CAM, CAM safety and quality assurance, studies of CAM education for health care providers, and ethno-botanical studies and reviews.

Twenty-eight articles referred to clinical research on supportive care, and the use of specific CAM modalities that included acupuncture, anthroposophic medicine, dietary and nutritional therapies herbal medicine, homeopathy, mind-body medicine, shiatsu, therapeutic touch, and yoga.

CONCLUSIONS: CAM-related supportive care research is prevalent in the Middle East, a fact that may serve as a basis for future multinational-multidisciplinary research work in supportive care in oncology.