Purpose: The objectives of this study were to describe the prevalence and types of complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs) used among patients with cancer receiving outpatient chemotherapy in Taiwan. Methods: This study was a cross-sectional survey. The study participants were 160 patients with cancer receiving outpatient chemotherapy at a medical center in northern Taiwan. Results: The vast majority of the participants reported CAM use (n = 157, 98.1%). The two most common groups of CAM used were "biologically based therapies" (77.5%) and "mind-body interventions" (60.6%). Fifteen percent (15.3%) of patients took grapeseed and ginseng, which might affect the efficacy of some chemotherapy regimens. Fourteen percent (14.4%) of patients did not know the name of the herbs they took. The most commonly reported reasons for CAM use were to boost the immune system (55.4%) and relieve stress (53.5%). Approximately two thirds of patients (66.2%) had never informed their physicians of CAM use. Conclusions: This survey revealed a high prevalence of CAM use among patients with cancer receiving outpatient chemotherapy in Taiwan. The types of CAM used by patients with cancer in Taiwan differed from those in Western countries. Health professionals need to be cautious about the potential herb-drug interactions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine