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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:212386. doi: 10.1155/2012/212386. Epub 2012 Dec 24.

Predictors of complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer care: results of a nationwide multicenter survey in Korea.

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National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, 323 Ilsan-ro, Ilsandong-Gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do 410-769, Republic of Korea.


Background. Although studies have shown that the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is common in cancer patients, few surveys have assessed CAM use and associated factors in various cancers in Korea. Objectives. We explored factors predicting CAM use among a nationally representative sample of cancer patients. Methods. In total, 2,661 cancer patients were administered questionnaires about their CAM use and factors that might predict CAM use including sociodemographics, clinical and quality-of-life factors, time since diagnosis, trust in physicians, trust in hospitals, satisfaction, and informational needs. Data were analyzed using Pearson's χ(2) tests and multivariate logistic regression analysis. Results. Overall, 25.5% reported that they had used or were using CAM. Higher income, presence of metastasis, longer time since diagnosis, less trust in hospitals, lower overall satisfaction, and higher degree of informational need were significantly associated with CAM use. Conclusions. The use of CAM in patients with cancer can be interpreted as an attempt to explore all possible options, expression of an active coping style, or expression of unmet needs in the cancer care continuum. Physicians need to openly discuss the use of CAM with their patients and identify whether they have other unmet supportive needs.

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