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Psychooncology. 2015 Feb;24(2):169-74. doi: 10.1002/pon.3621. Epub 2014 Jul 15.

Giving voice to cancer patients: assessing non-specific effects of an integrative oncology therapeutic program via short patient narratives.

Author information

1
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Western Galilee Academic College, Galilee, Israel.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to assess patient perspectives regarding non-specific effects of a complementary medicine (CM) consultation and intervention within an integrative oncology setting.

METHODS:

Patients undergoing chemotherapy in a community-based oncology service were referred by oncology healthcare providers to an integrative oncology physician trained in CM-oriented supportive care. Assessment of concerns and well-being was made using the Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing questionnaire, at baseline and after 3 months of CM treatments, which were designed to improve quality of life (QoL) outcomes. Patients were asked to describe the most important aspects of the integrative treatment process. Free-text narratives were examined using content analysis with ATLAS.Ti software for systematic coding.

RESULTS:

Of 152 patients' narratives analyzed, 44% reported an experience of patient-centered care, including CM practitioners' approach of togetherness, uniqueness, and the invoking of an internal process. CM practitioner approach was experienced within a context of an enhanced sense of confidence; gaining a different perspective; and acquiring emotional resilience and empowerment.

CONCLUSIONS:

Short patient narratives should be considered for patient-reported outcomes, expressing perspectives of both effects and experience of care. CM may promote patient QoL-related outcomes through non-specific effects, enhancing patient-centered care. The benefits of CM dependent on general therapeutic incidental aspects (i.e., common factors) warrant attention regarding non-specific components of treatment.

KEYWORDS:

cancer; integrative medicine; narrative-based medicine; oncology; supportive care

PMID:
25043932
DOI:
10.1002/pon.3621
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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