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Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2000 Jan-Feb;17(1):55-65.

Use of alternative therapy among pediatric oncology patients in Taiwan.

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  • 1Graduate Institute of Nursing Science, Chang Gung University, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Both alternative medicine and western medicine have been commonly used to treat pediatric cancer patients in Taiwan. Each has its own intrinsic strengths and weaknesses and they can be complementary. Little is known about medical help-seeking behaviors of parents of pediatric cancer patients, especially those related to alternative therapies. This study investigated the extent and parental expectations on use of alternative therapies. All primary caregivers of 63 eligible patients were interviewed. Use of alternative therapies, regardless of education level or social status of their families, is prevalent (n = 46, 73%) in Taiwan. Commonly used alternative therapies included, in order of popularity, formulated functional food (n = 22, 48%), temple worship/shamanism (n = 19, 40%), traditional Chinese medicine (n = 9, 20%), secret recipes/herbs (n = 13, 28%), and diet supplements (n = 9, 19%). Such practices generally occur without medical guidance from oncologists, largely because of poor interactions between parents and oncologists. Future efforts should be made to encourage both parents and oncologists to discuss this issue. Nurses may serve as mediators by developing mutual trust and a sharing relationship between these groups.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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