Use of complementary and alternative medical therapies (CAM) by patients attending a regional comprehensive cancer care centre

Jennifer Wilkinson, Mark Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: This study determined the prevalence, types, and attitudes towards complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) and therapies in cancer patients actively undergoing conventional cancer treatment at a regional cancer centre.
Methods: Data were collected using a self-administered questionnaire provided to adult cancer patients attending a comprehensive cancer care centre in regional Australia over a 3-month period.
Results: A participation rate of 89% was recorded over the 3-month period with 285 of 320 cancer patients providing completed data. Mean age was 64 years and slightly more females responded (56%). CAM types used by patients were classified according to US National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) domains. Overall prevalence of CAM use was 49% (140/285). The NCCAM domains of biologicallybased treatments (mainly herbal and vitamin/mineral supplements) and manipulative/body-based methods (chiropractic and massage) were the most popular. Most patients (61%) who used CAM prior to cancer diagnosis continued complementary practices afterwards, and 33% of participants became first-time CAM users only after diagnosis. CAM use appeared to be associated with high patient acceptance and satisfaction which was not related to either cancer diagnosis or prognosis. Patients who used CAM were mainly willing to disclose (77%) this practice to their conventional health care providers.
Conclusions: CAM use is prevalent in regional Australia. Collaborative integration of some CAM practices into conventional cancer care pathways (a process known as integrative oncology) is likely to have substantial patient support.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine
Volume11
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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