An international pilot study of oncology physicians' opinions and practices on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) INTEGRATIVE CANCER THERAPIES Lee, R. T., Hlubocky, F. J., Hu, J., Stafford, R. S., Daugherty, C. K. 2008; 7 (2): 70-75


In China and Taiwan, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies such as traditional Chinese medicine have been an option to cancer patients for centuries, whereas in the United States, CAM has been growing in popularity only in the past few decades. Prior research has indicated that the prevalence of CAM use among cancer patients may exceed 80%. Because of a long cultural history of CAM, we hypothesized that oncologists in China and Taiwan (C/T) would communicate and combine CAM with conventional treatments more often than US oncologists.In 2004-2005, a convenience sample of oncologists from the United States, mainland China, and Taiwan were surveyed regarding their opinions and self-reported practice patterns regarding CAM.A total 95 oncologists returned surveys, providing a 38% response rate. Four out of 5 respondents (78%) felt their medical training was inadequate to use CAM. However, 70% reported they would allow CAM use during active cancer treatment, even in the setting of curable disease. Responding C/T oncologists tended to ask patients more frequently (they ask > 25% of patients) about CAM use and recommended CAM more commonly (recommend to > 10%) to patients than surveyed US oncologists, 55% versus 37% (P = .09) and 81% versus 53% (P < .05). Respondents from the United States felt no more prepared for CAM use than C/T respondents, but 70% reported willingness to combine CAM with conventional treatments for curable disease as compared with only 48% (P < .05) of C/T oncologists.As expected, responding C/T oncologists communicate more often about CAM with patients by asking and recommending CAM. However, contrary to our original hypothesis, C/T oncologists reported a much lower rate of combining CAM with conventional treatment among curable patients than responding US oncologists. Further research is needed to explore, in depth, the reasons for differences in CAM practice patterns among oncologists.

View details for DOI 10.1177/1534735408319059

View details for Web of Science ID 000256934000003

View details for PubMedID 18505899