A survey by a breast health and breast cancer information and support service indicates 42% of breast cancer patients had used medical cannabis to help manage their symptoms or side-effects from treatments.
A BreastCancer.org survey carried out between December 16 last year and January 19 this year revealed the majority of medical cannabis users reported cannabis was effective for managing their symptoms.
“While solid evidence on the safety and efficacy of medical cannabis to treat cancer-related symptoms remains scarce, many patients report they find cannabis effective for symptom palliation,” said Marisa C. Weiss, M.D., founder and chief medical officer of Breastcancer.org, and lead author of the study report.
Participants in the survey were required to be 18 years old or older, live in the USA and have been diagnosed with breast cancer within the past 5 years. A total of 612 completed surveys were received.
The most common symptoms or side effects medical cannabis was used to address were pain (78%), insomnia (70%) and anxiety (57%). Many indicated they were using cannabis to tackle multiple symptoms or side effects.
Usage was quite common among different age groups. Respondents’ ages ranged from 27 – 84; with a median age of 57.
“Although younger patients are somewhat more likely to use this form of palliative management, older patients are suffering from the same symptoms and their use is nearly as high,” states the study abstract.
A conclusion of the study was that more research is need for the personalisation of safe and effective sympotmatic management using medical cannabis across ages, location and forms of treatment.
BreastCancer.org is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organisation. Established in 2000, it is a popular source of expert information and an online community for people impacted by breast cancer. The organisation says its web site recieves 19 million visitors a year. The organisation intends submitting additional insights from the survey study to medical journals and scientific conferences.
According to Breast Cancer Network Australia, it estimated in 2019 that 19,371 women and 164 men would have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australian women, and it accounts for 14.0 per cent of all cancer deaths among Australian women.