Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Fam Pract. 1999 Jun;48(6):453-8.

Disclosing complementary and alternative medicine use in the medical encounter: a qualitative study in women with breast cancer.

Author information

  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California-San Francisco, 94143-0850, USA. adler@itsa.ucsf.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite recent findings that patients who use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) typically choose not to mention this to their physicians, little is known about the reasons for this lack of communication. Understanding the reasons for nondisclosure of CAM use is critical to improving physician-patient communication and patient care.

METHODS:

We are conducting a 5-year prospective cohort study consisting of 4 interview cycles. The multiethnic, population-based sample consists of 86 San Francisco residents with recently diagnosed breast cancer (response rate = 87%). Findings are determined using qualitative analysis of transcribed interviews.

RESULTS:

At initial contact, 72% of the participants were using at least 1 CAM therapy for breast cancer. Six months later, 65% of participants were using CAM. Of the women being treated by an alternative practitioner, 54% disclosed their CAM use to their physicians. Conversely, 94% discussed details of their biomedical treatments with their alternative practitioner. Reasons for not disclosing CAM use included anticipating the physician's disinterest, negative response, or unwillingness or inability to contribute useful information; the perception that the CAM therapies used were irrelevant to the biomedical treatment course; and the patients' views regarding the appropriate coordination of disparate healing strategies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Discussions of patients' CAM use are more poorly integrated into the medical encounter than discussions of biomedical treatment are with alternative practitioners. Patients' disclosure is often cautiously modulated, even by those who would welcome an open discussion with their physicians. Specific suggestions for discussing CAM use with patients are presented.

PMID:
10386489
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk