PURPOSE: Communication about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) between cancer patients and health professionals rarely takes place. This article reports on an intervention study that aimed to support communication about the use and effects of CAM between cancer patients and care providers.
METHODS: The intervention consisted of the use of evidence-based information material (website; leaflet) about the effects of CAM for cancer. Focus groups with cancer patients, relatives, nurses and doctors (n = 50) determined the preferred content and format of materials and evaluated the intervention. The information material was informed by a related systematic metareview of literature. A survey identified patient participants' CAM use, information sources, and the extent of communication about CAM before and after the intervention.
RESULTS: No significant impact of the intervention on communication about CAM for cancer patients, patients' CAM use or sources of information was identified. Health professionals disseminated the leaflet only in response to patients raising the topic; the website was not accessed during consultations. The intervention and information materials were well received.
CONCLUSION: Cancer patients and care providers wish to improve communication about CAM. Nevertheless, patients and professionals wait for the other to broach the subject of CAM. This reflects a "culture of waiting."
- Cancer care
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Effects of complementary and alternative medicine
- Evidence-based information
- Intervention study