Behaviors and attitudes toward the use of complementary and alternative medicine among Korean cancer patients

Jung Hye Kwon, Sang Cheol Lee, Myung Ah Lee, Yu Jung Kim, Jung Hun Kang, Jin Young Kim, Hyo Jin Lee, Woo Kyun Bae, Mi Jung Kim, Eui Kyu Chie, Jin Kim, Yeul Hong Kim, Hyun Cheol Chung, Sun Young Rha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose A cross-sectional survey was conducted to explore the current awareness and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as well as attitudes toward CAM, in patients with cancer and their family members in South Korea. Materials and Methods Between September 21 and October 31, 2017, a 25-item questionnaire regarding CAM experiences among cancer patients and their family members was conducted in 10 oncology clinics in South Korea after institutional review board approval at each institution. Results In total, 283/310 patients were analyzed. The median age was 60 years, and 60% were male. Most of the patients were actively receiving anticancer treatment at the time of the survey. A total of 106 patients (37%) had experienced a median of two types (interquartile range, 1 to 3) of CAM. Belief in CAM (odds ratio [OR], 3.015; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.611 to 5.640) and duration of disease (OR, 1.012; 95% CI, 1.004 to 1.020) were independent factors for using CAM in multivariable analysis. Belief in CAM was significantly associated with current use of CAM (OR, 3.633; 95% CI, 1.567 to 8.424). Lay referral was the most common reason for deciding to use CAM, and only 25% of patients (72/283) discussed CAM with their physicians. Conclusion Patient attitudes toward and confidence in CAM modalities were strongly associated with their CAM experiences, and only a small number of patients had an open discussion about CAM with their physicians. A patient education program for CAM is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-860
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research and Treatment
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright 2019 by the Korean Cancer Association


  • Attitudes
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Neoplasms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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