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Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Cancer Patients in Rural Australia


Sullivan, A and Gilbar, P and Curtain, C, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Cancer Patients in Rural Australia, Integrative Cancer Therapies, 14, (4) pp. 350-358. ISSN 1534-7354 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1177/1534735415580679


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:complementary medicine, alternative medicine, cancer, Australia
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences
Research Field:Clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Allied health therapies (excl. mental health services)
UTAS Author:Curtain, C (Mr Colin Curtain)
ID Code:101776
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:26
Deposited By:Pharmacy
Deposited On:2015-07-08
Last Modified:2017-11-02

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