Many adults with breast cancer use cannabis but don’t tell their doctor

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Nearly half of American adults with breast cancer use cannabis (marijuana and hemp), most often in combination with cancer treatment to control symptoms and side effects, according to a new study. However, most patients do not discuss cannabis use with their doctor. The results will be published online at the start. Cancer..

Individual cancer People often experience pain, discomfort, nausea and other difficulties as a result of cancer and its treatment. While some rely on cannabis for symptom relief, many doctors feel they lack the knowledge to discuss cannabis with their patients. Such knowledge is especially important now that cancer is designated as a qualifying condition in almost all states. Medical cannabis program.

Investigators recently conducted an anonymous online survey to investigate cannabis use among diagnosed adults. breast cancer In five years he was a member of the online health communities Breastcancer.org and Healthline.com.

Among the main findings:

  • Of a total of 612 participants, 42% reported using cannabis to relieve symptoms such as pain, insomnia, anxiety, stress, and nausea / vomiting. Seventy-five percent of people who used cannabis reported that cannabis was very or very helpful in relieving symptoms.
  • Almost half (49%) of participants who used cannabis believed that medical cannabis could be used to treat cancer itself. However, its effectiveness against cancer is unknown.
  • Of those who use cannabis, 79% have used cannabis during treatments such as systemic therapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.
  • Participants said they used a variety of cannabis products known for their different quality and purity.
  • Half of the participants asked for information about medical cannabis, and the website and other patients were ranked as the most useful sources of information. The doctor was ranked lower on the list.
  • Among those who asked for information on Medical Cannabis Use, most people were not satisfied with the information they received.
  • Most participants believed cannabis products were safe and were unaware that many products had not been tested for safety.

“Our research highlights an important opportunity for providers to start informed conversations about medical cannabis with patients. Evidence shows that many people use medical cannabis without our knowledge and without our guidance. “It shows this,” said Dr. Marisa Weiss, lead author of Breastcancer.org. Rankenau Medical Center near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “Not knowing whether our cancer patients are using cannabis is a major blind spot in our ability to provide optimal treatment, and as a healthcare professional we discuss medical cannabis with patients. You have to do a better job of initiating informed conversations. These symptoms and side effects are well managed and relate to potential side effects, therapeutic interactions, or the use of medical cannabis for cancer treatment. We minimize the risk of non-compliance with standard processing due to incorrect information. “

Dr Weiss added that patients should never use cannabis in place of standard cancer treatment, and clinicians should educate patients about the safe and effective use of cannabis as an adjunct to cancer treatment planning. .


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For more information:
“Coala-T survey on cannabis use before, during and after treatment by patients with breast cancer. ” Cancer (2021). DOI: 10.1002 / cncr.33906

Quote: Many adults with breast cancer use cannabis but have not told their doctor about it (October 12, 2021). Obtained from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-10-adults-breast-cancer-cannabis- including October 12, 2021. html

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