Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) methods by cancer patients admitted to oncology polyclinic and evaluation of these methods for life quality
Usak University Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, Usak, Turkey
Aim: In the present study, our aim is to assess cancer patients receiving treatment in Outpatient Chemotherapy Unit in terms of demographic characteristics and life quality and to investigate the use of CAM methods and the factors affecting the use of such methods.
Material and Methods: The sample of this descriptive study consists of 100 cancer patients treated in Outpatient Chemotherapy Unit. A questionnaire form was used in the study as a data collection tool. The questionnaire form prepared following the approval of local ethical committee was applied to the patients admitted to oncology unit for outpatient chemotherapy.
Results: 56% of patients were males and 44% of them were females. They were aged minimum 40 and maximum 89. 39% of patients had breast cancer, 22% of them had colorectal cancer, 20% of them had lung cancer, 15% of them had prostate cancer, %2 of them had uterine (endometrium) cancer, and 2% of them had bladder cancer. 23 out of 100 patients in the sample used alternative treatment methods. 20 of them preferred herbal therapy while 3 of them used acupuncture. A great majority of patients resorting to alternative treatment methods were housewives and had lung, breast or colorectal cancer. It was observed that less patients with urogenital cancer resorted to CAM methods.
Conclusion: As a result of this study, it was detected that 23% of cancer patients used one of the CAM methods, the most common one being the herbal therapy. Physicians and other healthcare professionals must be knowledgeable about the effects and side effects of these treatment methods and must warn the cancer patients about their probable complications. Moreover, an interesting result is that, in Turkey, cancer patients are not informed on their diagnosis by relatives and healthcare professionals.
Keywords: Cancer; Phytotherapy; Complementary Therapies; Alternative Medicine.