"It's natural so it shouldn't hurt me": Chemotherapy patients' perspectives, experiences, and sources of information of complementary and alternative medicines  

Megan Crichton, Katelyn Strike, Elisabeth Isenring, Alexandra L. McCarthy, Wolfgang Marx, Anna Elizabeth Lohning, Skye Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background
and purpose: Minimal evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use during chemotherapy is accompanied with a high prevalence of use and nondisclosure to health professionals. This study aimed to explore patients’ perspectives, experiences, support needs, and sources of information regarding CAM use during chemotherapy.

Materials and methods

Semi-structured interviews with ten adult participants who recently completed chemotherapy treatment at a large hospital in Australia were transcribed verbatim. Three investigators thematically analysed the interviews.

Results
These participants receiving chemotherapy value CAMs as a natural complement to chemotherapy to improve wellbeing, with their use most strongly influenced by past experiences rather than expert advice.

Conclusion
Health professionals would benefit from education on how to best inform patients of the potential risks, harms and lack of efficacy for CAM use during chemotherapy in a way that does not lead to patient non-disclosure of CAM use.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101362
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
Volume43
Early online date11 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2021

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