Impact of complementary and alternative medicine offerings on cancer patients’ emotional health and ability to self-manage health conditions Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: 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. DESIGN: 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. SETTING: Mail-based survey completed by cancer patients in a southern state. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: 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.

altmetric score

  • 39.9

author list (cited authors)

  • Fitzsimmons, A. G., Dahlke, D. V., Bergeron, C. D., Smith, K. N., Patel, A., Ory, M. G., & Smith, M. L.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • January 2019