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Wode, Kathrin
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Wode, K., Henriksson, R., Sharp, L., Stoltenberg, A. & Nordberg, J. H. (2019). Cancer patients' use of complementary and alternative medicine in Sweden: a cross-sectional study. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 19, Article ID 62.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cancer patients' use of complementary and alternative medicine in Sweden: a cross-sectional study
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2019 (English)In: BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, ISSN 1472-6882, E-ISSN 1472-6882, Vol. 19, article id 62Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Access to and advice on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) are uncommon within Swedish conventional cancer care and little is known about cancer patients' own use of CAM. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to explore Swedish cancer patients patterns of CAM use, their experiences and preferences.

Methods. Questionnaires were distributed consecutively to 1297 cancer patients at a university hospital's out-patient oncology units. The response rate was 58% (n=755). Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the survey data. A logistic regression model was used to investigate the association between CAM use and gender, age and level of education. Open-ended responses were analyzed, using qualitative content analysis.

Results: Lifetime CAM use was reported by 34% (n=256), and 26% (n=198) used CAM after cancer diagnosis. Being female, younger and having higher education predicted CAM use. Most commonly used methods were natural products including vitamins and mineralsand relaxation. Main reasons for CAM use were improvement of physical, general and emotional wellbeing and increasing the body's ability to fight cancer. Satisfaction with CAM usage was generally high. Reported adverse effects were few and mild; 54% of users spent <50 Euro a month on CAM. One third had discussed their CAM use with cancer care providers. More than half of all participants thought that cancer care providers should be able to discuss (58%) and to consider (54%) use of CAM modalities in cancer care.

Conclusions: Despite limited access and advice within conventional cancer care, one fourth of Swedish cancer patients use CAM. The insufficient patient-provider dialogue diverges with most patients' wish for professional guidance in their decisions and integration of CAM modalities in conventional cancer care. Concurrent and multimodal CAM use implies challenges and possibilities for cancer care that need to be considered.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
BioMed Central, 2019
Complementary and alternative medicine, utilization, Oncology, Cross-sectional studies, Cancer, adult, Integrative oncology, Sweden, Europe, Epidemiology, Evidence-based medicine
National Category
Cancer and Oncology Nursing
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-157958 (URN)10.1186/s12906-019-2452-5 (DOI)000461347200003 ()30866916 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2019-04-17 Created: 2019-04-17 Last updated: 2019-04-17Bibliographically approved

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