Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/51378
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Type: Journal article
Title: (Using) complementary and alternative medicine: The perceptions of palliative patients with cancer
Author: Eliott, J.
Kealey, C.
Olver, I.
Citation: Journal of Palliative Medicine, 2008; 11(1):58-67
Publisher: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Publishers
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 1096-6218
1557-7740
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Jaklin A. Eliott, Colin P. Kealey, and Ian N. Olver
Abstract: Use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasingly common within Western societies, including Australia. This parallels calls for or claims of integration of CAM into mainstream medical practice, with oncology and palliative care specifically nominated as appropriate arenas for integration. However, there is an absence of studies examining patient perceptions of both CAM and CAM users. In this study, 28 adult patients with cancer close to death were interviewed regarding treatment decisions at the end of life, including decisions about CAM. Thematic analysis of transcribed interviews found consistent differences in talk around CAM between 12 users and 16 nonusers of CAM, primarily related to the perceived value of these treatments. Drawing upon a mind–body discourse that holds individuals responsible for their health, users valued CAM for the perceived benefit to physical or psychological well-being and compatibility with a holistic approach to health care, deemed to complement or augment conventional medicine. However, some were selfcritical of their failure to continue with CAM, despite practical and financial difficulties experienced. Nonusers devalued CAM as unable to cure their disease (but did not similarly devalue conventional medicine), and negatively construed CAM users as desperate, or as challenging medical wisdom. Despite increased legitimation and medicalization of CAM, patients assess CAM differently to allopathic medicine, with different (positive and negative) assessments attributable to users. The misperception by many (nonusers) that CAM are intended to cure and available negative moral and social judgments centred around CAM use may deter patient uptake of CAM in areas where they have proven efficacy in symptom control.
Keywords: Humans; Neoplasms; Complementary Therapies; Palliative Care; Attitude to Health; Adult; Aged; Middle Aged; Patients; South Australia; Female; Male; Interviews as Topic
Rights: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
RMID: 0020080092
DOI: 10.1089/jpm.2007.0102
Appears in Collections:Psychology publications

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