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Support Care Cancer. 2014 Mar;22(3):731-9. doi: 10.1007/s00520-013-2028-8. Epub 2013 Nov 13.

Developing an operational model for an integrative oncology program: a qualitative descriptive feasibility study.

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  • 1Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre, 29 Bayswater Avenue, Ottawa, Canada, K1Y 2E5, lweeks@oicc.ca.



We describe a descriptive qualitative study with the purpose of assessing the feasibility of developing an integrative oncology program in our region.


We conducted 39 interviews and two focus groups (nā€‰=ā€‰20) with cancer patients, their caregivers and complementary and conventional (nā€‰=ā€‰15) healthcare professionals.


One primary theme emerged, acceptance or tolerance of an integrative oncology program, which represents concepts within four emergent categories: (1) operational model; (2) values to guide an integrative oncology program; (3) physical location and design; and (4) facilitators and barriers to establishing an integrative oncology program.


The study was instrumental in establishing support for an integrative oncology program in our region, including a feasible model. Based in part on the results of this study, the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre ( www.oicc.ca ) opened in November 2011. We recommend a similar process of stakeholder engagement for others who wish to develop an integrative program in their location.

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