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J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Dec;6(6):531-8.

Ethnic differences in complementary and alternative medicine use among cancer patients.

Author information

1
Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu 96813, USA. gertraud@crch.hawaii.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This study estimated the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use and its relation to quality of life (QOL) among cancer patients from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Given the ethnically diverse population in Hawaii, we hypothesized that CAM use may be related to the ancestry and the cultural heritage of cancer patients.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Participants for this mail survey were identified through the Hawaii Tumor Registry, a state-wide population-based cancer registry.

SUBJECTS:

Patients with invasive cancer diagnosed 1995-1996. Of the 2,452 questionnaires received, 1,168 (47.6%) were returned.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

Prevalence of CAM use and QOL measures.

RESULTS:

One in four respondents reported at least one CAM therapy since cancer diagnosis. CAM use was highest among Filipino and Caucasian patients, intermediate for Native Hawaiians and Chinese, and significantly lower among Japanese. Some ethnic preferences for CAM followed ethnic folk medicine traditions, e.g., herbal medicines by Chinese, Hawaiian healing by Native Hawaiians, and religious healing or prayer by Filipinos. CAM users reported lower emotional functioning scores, higher symptom scores, and more financial difficulties than nonusers.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study detected ethnic differences in CAM use, in particular a low use among Japanese patients, and supports the importance of cultural factors in determining the frequency and type of CAM therapies chosen. Consideration of patients' cultural heritage may facilitate communication between physicians and patients about CAM with the goal to achieve optimal cancer care.

PMID:
11152058
DOI:
10.1089/acm.2000.6.531
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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