241393 Psychosocial factors associated with complementary and alternative medicine use: Cross-sectional evidence from a study of cancer patients

Monday, October 31, 2011

Vinay Kumar, MPH , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Kristen Arthur, MPH , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Juan Carlos Belliard, PhD, MPH , School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Steven Hardin, MD , Department of Hematology/Oncology, Veterans Administration Loma Linda Healthcare System, Loma Linda, CA
Kathryn Knecht, PhD , School of Pharmacy, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Chien-Shing Chen, MD, PhD , Division of Hematology and Oncology, Loma Linda University, School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA
Susanne Montgomery, PhD, MPH, MS , Behavioral Health Institute, Loma Linda University, Redlands, CA
Introduction: The increased usage of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among cancer patients coupled with evidence that CAM has been associated with improvement in emotional and physical well-being suggests an integrative approach to conventional cancer therapies. Although CAM is known to improve health, knowledge of the psychosocial factors that contribute to CAM use is lacking. Methods: This descriptive, cross-sectional pilot study collected data from a convenient sample of 58 cancer patients through trained face-to-face administered surveys. 87.9% of participants reported using CAM as a therapy for cancer. Psychosocial factors such as patients' perception regarding quality of life, health, control over illness and treatment, hope, holistic well-being, coping methods, self-efficacy, and beliefs were measured on a 5-point Likert scale. Findings: Control over illness [OR 4.36; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04-17.92)] and higher perceived quality of life [3.01 (95% CI: 1.01-8.25)] had a significant association to CAM use as a cancer therapy and a cure, respectively. Higher self-efficacy [10.23 (95% CI: 1.71-61.41)] and confrontive coping methods [8.72 (95% CI: 1.50-50.75)] were also significantly associated respectively to biologically-based and mind-body CAM therapies. Discussion: The high prevalence of CAM use suggests cancer patients are incorporating non-conventional therapies to cope with and/or cure their cancer. Psychosocial factors are complex predictors of CAM use and can be targeted to incorporate a more integrative approach to patient care. Although these predictors are associated with increased CAM use among cancer patients, cause and effect of these predictors need to be further examined.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. To identify psychosocial factors associated with CAM use among cancer patients receiving conventional treatment. 2. To discuss the need for an integrative approach to patient care in our health care institutions.

Keywords: Alternative Medicine/Therapies, Psychosocial Issues of Cancer

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am an epidemiologist for cancer research at a large health institution.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.