Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Cancer Patients and Determination of Affecting Factors A Questionnaire Study

Ustundag S., Zencirci A. D.

HOLISTIC NURSING PRACTICE, vol.29, no.6, pp.357-369, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 29 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1097/hnp.0000000000000113
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.357-369
  • Keywords: cancer, chemotherapy, complementary and alternative medicine, culture religion, QUALITY-OF-LIFE, PREVALENCE, THERAPIES, SUPPLEMENTS, SURVIVORS, WOMEN, CARE
  • Kütahya Health Sciences University Affiliated: No


This descriptive and cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the use and effects of complementary and alternative medicine on cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. The research was conducted in Daytime Chemotherapy Unit of the College District Outpatients in the Ankara Numune Education and Research Hospital and comprised 397 patients in the oncology outpatients. Written informed consents were obtained from all participants. Among the participants, 52.6% were women, 85.1% married, 10.6% illiterate, 41.1% housewife, and 8.8% civil servants. Among the patients participated in the study, 27.7% had cancer in the family, 22.6% had gastrointestinal cancer, and 22.1% had breast cancer. Most of the patients (92.2%) resorted to religious and cultural approaches, and some patients (33.8%) used nutritional and herbal products besides medical treatment. The nutritional and herbal products used as remedy included stinging nettle (22.3%), fennel flower (20.1%), and herbal products that were advertised by herbalists in media (9.7%). It was determined that most of the patients resorting to complementary or alternative medicine were women (52.6%), housewife (51.5%), and patients with a history of cancer in the family (37.7%). Complementary and alternative medicine use as a remedy for cure is common among patients in Turkey. But when it is considered that many of these products had the potential to negatively affect cancer therapy, it is crucial that nurses providing care to cancer patients should be well informed about complementary therapies, be aware of the potential risks and benefits, and communicate openly with patients on their health care choices.