Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Psychooncology. 2011 Jul;20(7):746-54. doi: 10.1002/pon.1773. Epub 2010 May 19.

Spirituality and use of complementary therapies for cure in advanced cancer.

Author information

Division of Medical Oncology and Haematology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is frequently used by patients with advanced cancer, for a variety of reasons. We examined the use of CAM in this population, and associations of use for potential cure with spiritual faith and existential well-being.


Patients with advanced cancer on a palliative care unit completed a measure of spiritual well-being (existential well-being and faith), and a survey assessing complementary therapy use and reasons for such use. Information was also gathered on demographic data, previous cancer treatment, performance status, and symptom distress. Regression analyses assessed the association between the spirituality domains of existential well-being and faith, and the use of CAM for cure.


Of 123 participants, 85% had used CAM, 42% with curative intent. More than 95% would consider future use of CAM, 48% for potential cure. Previous use for cure predicted current interest in using CAM for cure (p<0.0001). Spiritual faith was associated with previous (p<0.02) and interest in future use for cure (p<0.0001). Poor existential well-being was associated with interest in future use of CAM for cure (p=0.04).


Interest in considering CAM for cure was relatively high in this group of inpatients on a palliative care unit, and was associated with increased spiritual faith and decreased existential well-being. Understanding factors associated with seeking CAM for cure may help health-care professionals to support and educate patients with advanced cancer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center