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Do attitudes and beliefs regarding complementary and alternative medicine impact its use among patients with cancer? A cross-sectional survey

Bauml, J.M., Chokshi, S., Schapira, M.M., Im, E.-O., Li, S.Q., Langer, C.J., Ibrahim, S.A., Mao, J.J.

Cancer, Volume 121, Issue 14, 1 July 2015, Pages 2431-2438

Abstract


BACKGROUND
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) incorporates treatments used by cancer survivors in an attempt to improve their quality of life. Although population studies have identified factors associated with its use, to the best of the authors knowledge, assessment of why patients use CAM or the barriers against its use have not been examined to date.

METHODS
The authors conducted a cross-sectional survey study in the thoracic, breast, and gastrointestinal medical oncology clinics at an academic cancer center. Clinical and demographic variables were collected by self-report and chart abstraction. Attitudes and beliefs were measured using the validated Attitudes and Beliefs about CAM (ABCAM) instrument. This instrument divides attitudes and beliefs into 3 domains: expected benefits, perceived barriers, and subjective norms.

RESULTS
Among 969 participants (response rate, 82.7%) surveyed between June 2010 and September 2011, patient age ≤65 years, female sex, and college education were associated with a significantly greater expected benefit from CAM (P<.0001 for all). Nonwhite patients reported more perceived barriers to CAM use compared with white patients (P<.0001), but had a similar degree of expected benefit (P=.76). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, all domains of the ABCAM instrument were found to be significantly associated with CAM use (P<.01 for all) among patients with cancer. Attitudes and beliefs regarding CAM explained much more variance in CAM use than clinical and demographic variables alone.

CONCLUSIONS
Attitudes and beliefs varied by key clinical and demographic characteristics, and predicted CAM use. By developing CAM programs based upon attitudes and beliefs, barriers among underserved patient populations may be removed and more patient centered care may be provided.

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