Complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer patients in rural Australia

Sullivan, Aimee, Gilbar, Peter and Curtain, Colin (2015) Complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer patients in rural Australia. Integrative Cancer Therapies, 14 4: 350-358. doi:10.1177/1534735415580679

Author Sullivan, Aimee
Gilbar, Peter
Curtain, Colin
Title Complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer patients in rural Australia
Journal name Integrative Cancer Therapies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1552-695X
Publication date 2015-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/1534735415580679
Volume 14
Issue 4
Start page 350
End page 358
Total pages 9
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
Publisher SAGE Publications
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Aim:  Numerous studies have demonstrated the high prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in metropolitan cancer cohorts but few have been conducted in regional and remote populations. This study aimed to investigate the trends and regional variations in CAM use by cancer patients at a regional cancer care center in Toowoomba, South East Queensland, Australia.

Methods:  All English-speaking adult cancer patients attending the regional cancer care center were invited to participate. Eligible patients were provided a self-administered questionnaire that was developed based on published surveys. Ethics approval was obtained.

Results:  Overall 142 patients completed the questionnaire and 68% were currently or had previously used at least one form of CAM. CAM users and nonusers did not differ significantly by region, age, gender, time since diagnosis, income, town size, treatment intent, or metastases. CAM users were more likely to have a higher level of education. Concurrent CAM use with conventional treatment was reported by approximately half of respondents. The most common reason for CAM use was “to improve general physical well-being.” The most common sources of CAM information were family (31%) and friends (29%). Disclosure of CAM use to either the general practitioner or specialist was reported by 46% and 33% of patients, respectively. The most common reason for nondisclosure was “doctor never asked.”

Conclusion:  This study supports previous research that CAM use is as common in regional and remote areas as metropolitan areas. Nondisclosure of CAM use to health professionals was common. Future research needs to focus on strategies to improve communication between patients and health professionals about the use of CAM.
Keyword Complementary and alternative medicine
CAM use
Regional and remote
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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