Impact of complementary and alternative medicine offerings on cancer patients' emotional health and ability to self-manage health conditions.

Affiliation

Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, College of Public Health, The University of Georgia, 100 Foster Rd, Athens, GA, 30606, USA; Center for Population Health and Aging, Texas A&M University, 212 Adriance Lab Road, College Station, TX, 77843, USA. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

OBJECTIVE : This descriptive study investigated how cancer patient characteristics and utilization of CAM resources, services, and activities at a regional cancer center were associated with patients' understanding of their health needs, emotional health, and their ability to self-manage their condition.
METHODS : Cross-sectional questionnaire. Sixty-one patients completed a mailed 17-item paper and pencil survey about their sociodemographics, use of CAM offerings, barriers, and perceived benefits.
METHODS : Mail-based survey completed by cancer patients in a southern state.
METHODS : As a result of participating in the center's cancer support services, patients indicated if: (1) they had a better understanding of their health needs; (2) their emotional health has improved; and (3) they take better care of themselves when they are at home and in the community.
RESULTS : Participants reported using 0.93 (±1.20) CAM activities (e.g., yoga), 0.62 (±0.71) resources (e.g., the library), and 1.62 (±1.34) services (e.g., monthly support groups), although also reported experiencing 0.74 (±0.81) barriers (e.g., transportation) to accessing these offerings. Perceived benefits were interrelated, where those perceiving CAM offerings to improve their understanding of their health needs also perceived improved emotional health (χ2 = 27.93, P < 0.001) and better self-care (χ2 = 30.90, P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS : Greater utilization of CAM offerings was also associated with greater perceived benefits. These results highlight the benefits of CAM therapies for cancer patients' well-being. Integration of CAM therapies in standard cancer care should be encouraged to complement cancer treatment.

Keywords

Cancer centers,Complementary and alternative medicine,Emotional health,Self-management,