The use of complementary and alternative therapies in radiation therapy departments throughout Australia

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Introduction: While both radiation therapy patient use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) and the oncologist’s perspective of CAMs have been surveyed in Australia and reported in the literature, actual radiation therapy department practice and endorsement of CAMs is yet to be reported. This investigation aimed to provide an overview of current practice and adoption of CAMs in radiation therapy departments across Australia.Methodology: This investigation was a survey of current department endorsed CAM practice in all 45 radiation therapy centres in Australia. The study design employed a self administered questionnaire, ensuring participant anonymity.Results: While only 27.7% of radiation therapy departments employed staff with training in CAM, CAM is recommended or endorsed by 66.7% of departments. Relaxation and meditation are the most common CAMs and the principal reasons for CAM use in radiation therapy departments is to cope with the emotional aspects of radiation therapy and to improve quality of life. Only 44.4% of radiation therapy departments (8/18) obtain details of CAM use of which only 37.5% actually account for it in therapy planning.Conclusion: CAMs are widely endorsed in Australian radiation therapy departments, predominantly to aid in management of psychosocial issues and to boost quality of life. Consequently, relaxation and meditation are the mainstays of CAM use in radiation therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Medical Herbalism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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