Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use and Quality of Life in Chinese Women with Breast Cancer: A Taiwanese Survey
Chu, Fang-Ying (Sylvia)
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Purpose: The purposes of this study were (1) to determine the prevalence and modalities of CAM use by Taiwanese women with breast cancer; (2) to measure the level of satisfactions and perceived benefits of CAM use; (3) to measure the level of quality of life (QOL). Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted at an outpatient oncology clinic attached in a teaching hospital of Taiwan. A total of 196 women participated in this study. Approximately, 74% of the women reported that they had used some form of CAM since being diagnosed with cancer. Results: The most common type of CAM in current use was Chinese medicine (36.1%). The mean scores of satisfaction and perceived effectiveness were 5.52 (SD = 1.01) and 5.44 (SD = 1.0), respectively, with the range of 0-7. The most frequently reported reason that contributed to women using CAM was to increase their body's ability to fight the cancer (70.8%). The most frequently experienced benefit of using CAM was to improve emotional well-being and to increase hope and optimism (69.4%). With regard to the various dimensions of QOL, the women had excellent role functioning (Mean = 90.14, SD = 18.77) and medium high level of global health status/QOL (Mean = 71.9, SD = 19.61). Conclusion: The findings of this study indicated that patients sought CAM as complementary treatments rather than alternative methods. Therefore, it is important that health professionals should initiate communication regarding CAM with patients and lead patients in using CAM appropriately and safely. Moreover, there is a need to fill the gap and create partnerships between western conventional medicine and CAM. Accordingly, the integrative health care will support cancer patients approaching their therapeutic goals.