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Research project: A study of the use of complementary and alternative therapies among people undergoing cancer treatment - Dormant - Dormant

Currently Active:

The focus of this study is to generate new understanding of the ways in which patients with cancer are using CAM as an adjunct to their conventional cancer treatment, and to identify the perceived value or otherwise of using CAM.


Main question(s)

  • Identify the patterns of CAM use among a diverse sample of patients in two cancer centres; one centre where CAM use is an integral part of service provision; and a cancer centre where no special emphasis is placed on CAM , comparing these with previous population based studies.
  • Explore in detail with patients who have chosen to use CAM, their motivations for using CAM comparing these with a group of patients who do not use CAM.
    Examine, using patients' accounts of their cancer illness experience, the relationship between CAM use and the cancer illness and treatment trajectory, to create a detailed map of the uses and reported effects of CAM.
  • Analyse the health outcomes associated with CAM use in the context of cancer treatment as reported by patients.
  • Identify CAM therapies that warrant further formal evaluation for their potential contribution to cancer treatment.
  • Develop understanding of CAM use among patients with cancer as a naturally occurring system of consumer-led and self-managed health care.

1. Survey - questionnaire.
2. Prospective longitudinal qualitative interviews.

Main outcomes
Findings from the study will be used to develop guidance on best practice regarding CAM in the context of cancer treatment, information for patients on CAM use, and recommendations as to how greater integration between CAM and conventional cancer treatment might be brought about. It is hoped that this study will produce invaluable information regarding the therapies and the specific situations where CAM may be valuable and identify where clinical trials of CAM may be warranted.

Project team

Jessica Corner

Project funder

Department of Health

Related research groups

Complex Healthcare Processes
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