The Perspective of Cancer Patients on the Use of Complementary Medicine

Background: Cancer is considered one of the most important health issues in Iran. Regarding that Iranians have a positive attitude towards complementary medicine; the demand for this type of treatments is increasing. However, those undergoing this treatment often have limited awareness on it. Objectives: This study aims at determining the perspective of cancer patients on using complementary medicine. Methods: In this descriptive study, 176 cancer patients from all over the country were selected by purposeful sampling, according to the inclusion criteria and, then, completed demographic characteristics questionnaire and the Questionnaire on Integrating Complementary Medicine in Oncology Treatment. The data were analyzed, using SPSS software version 20. Results: More than half of the patients used complementary medicine and according to their viewpoints, using herbal medicine was considered their first priority. At the same time, 46% of the research samples consulted with care providers on how to use complementary medicine for cancer treatment. The most frequent referrals to specialists were referrals to complementary medicine experts. The researchers expected complementary medicine to improve their symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Conclusions: The use of complementary medicine as a complementary approach in cancer patients can have an impact on the improvement of symptoms, which ultimately enhances the quality of life in patients. Due to the concerns about applying these approaches, it is necessary to train care providers in order to consider the perspective of cancer patients in this regard and to obtain their past medical history.