Complementary and alternative medicine use and benefit finding among cancer patients
Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)
Format: Journal Article
Publication Year: 2013
Pages: 876 - 881
Source ID: shanti-sources-39881
Collection: Yoga-Based Interventions for Cancer Treatment
Abstract: PURPOSE: An increasing number of cancer patients are choosing Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) as an active way to manage the physical, psychological, and spiritual consequences of cancer. This trend parallels a movement to understand how a difficult experience, such as a cancer diagnosis, may help facilitate positive growth, also referred to as benefit finding. Little is known about the associations between the use of CAM and the ability to find benefit in the cancer experience. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of medical oncology outpatients in an urban academic cancer center. Patients completed measures of CAM use and benefit finding following a diagnosis of cancer. A hierarchical regression, adjusting for covariates, was performed to evaluate the unique contribution of CAM use on benefit finding. The relationship between specific CAM modalities and benefit finding was explored. RESULTS: Among 316 participants, 193 (61.3%) reported CAM use following diagnosis. Factors associated with CAM use were female gender (p=0.005); college, or higher, education (p=0.09); breast cancer diagnosis (p=0.016); and being 12 to 36 months post-diagnosis (p=0.017). In the hierarchical regression, race contributed the greatest unique variance to benefit finding (23%), followed by time from diagnosis (18%), and age (14%). Adjusting for covariates, CAM use uniquely accounted for 13% of the variance in benefit finding. Individuals using energy healing and healing arts reported significantly more benefit than nonusers. Special diet, herbal remedies, vitamin use, and massage saw a smaller increase in benefit finding, while acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, relaxation, yoga, and tai chi were not significantly associated with benefit finding. CONCLUSIONS: Patients who used CAM following a cancer diagnosis reported higher levels of benefit finding than those who did not. More research is required to evaluate the causal relationship between CAM use, benefit finding, and better psychosocial well-being.