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Chin Med. 2009 Dec 30;4:25. doi: 10.1186/1749-8546-4-25.

Cancer patients' attitudes towards Chinese medicine: a Hong Kong survey.

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  • 1School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR, China. cmedricky@gmail.com

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

This article reports a survey conducted in Hong Kong on the cancer patients' attitudes towards Chinese medicine treatment.

METHODS:

Cancer patients from three Chinese medicine clinics and one oncology clinic were interviewed with a structured questionnaire.

RESULTS:

Of a total of 786 participants included in the study, 42.9% used Western medicine only; 57.1% used at least one form of Chinese medicine; 5 participants used Chinese medicine only; and 56.5% used Chinese medicine before/during/after Western medicine treatment. Commonly used Western medicine and Chinese medicine treatments included chemotherapy (63.7%), radiotherapy (62.0%), surgery (57.6%), Chinese herbal medicine (53.9%) and Chinese dietary therapy (9.5%). Participants receiving chemotherapy used Chinese medicine (63.3%) more than those receiving any other Western medicine treatments. Spearman correlation coefficients showed that the selection of Chinese medicine was associated with the cancer type (r(s)= -1.36; P < 0.001), stage (r(s)= 0.178; P < 0.001), duration (r(s)= -0.074; P = 0.037), whether receiving chemotherapy (r(s)= 0.165; P < 0.001) and palliative therapy (r(s)= 0.087; P = 0.015). Nearly two-thirds of the participants (N = 274) did not tell their physicians about using Chinese medicine. Over two-thirds of all participants (68.2%) believed that integrated Chinese and Western medicine was effective.

CONCLUSION:

Chinese medicine is commonly used among Hong Kong cancer patients. The interviewed cancer patients in Hong Kong considered integrative Chinese and Western medicine is an effective cancer treatment.

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