Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Cancer: Patient survey results (perceptions and preferences)

London, England (April 08, 2019): CareAcross, a UK digital health company focusing on cancer, announced today the results of a survey it recently carried out among cancer patients, offering enhanced insight on the perceptions of patients regarding complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Patients avoid discussing about Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) with clinicians

Patients rarely share their interest on using CAM with their doctors: 61% choose not to discuss CAM with their attending physicians, and only 16% of them ask their doctors about it. At the same time, 66% are interested in using Complementary and Alternative Medicine and 37% report actually doing so.

Results of the CareAcross survey

The survey responses were analysed by the CareAcross analytics team and yielded a variety of insights including the following highlights: 

  • 66% of patients are favorable towards CAM
  • 37% use it

Various types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine are being used 

  • 24% use herbal medicine
  • 21% meditate
  • 12% opt for homeopathy and
  • 10% choose aromatherapy

When asked why they use CAM, 

  • 39% expect it to improve their overall health
  • 28% count on it to help manage treatment side-effects
  • 24% see CAM as a means to preventing recurrence or metastasis and
  • 21% use it to enhance their conventional treatment effectiveness

Regarding patients’ perceptions on CAM: 

  • 38% believe that it doesn’t hurt to try
  • 24% claim that it presents less side-effects than conventional medication
  • 12% like that they can choose their own treatment

Patients seek CAM-related information 

  • 43% online
  • 22% from family & friends
  • 21% directly from CAM providers
  • 16% from their doctor or nurse
  • 10% from a support group

Discussing about their communication with their doctor regarding CAM 

  • 61% did not talk to their doctor
  • 13% their doctor provided information
  • 10% their doctor discouraged them.

Paris Kosmidis, MD, the CareAcross Chief Medical Officer, acknowledged that “it is certainly understandable that patients search for ways to improve their wellbeing and even their outcomes.” However, he stressed that “some of these approaches may interact negatively or unpredictably with their medical treatments; others have not been researched enough. I’m afraid that ‘being there to listen’ is not always practically feasible, but in any case, we should engage to understand patients’ underlying needs and not patronise them.”

About CareAcross

CareAcross is a digital health company focusing on cancer. It builds and operates personalised platforms for cancer patients, offering patient-friendly material and services based on thousands of peer-reviewed publications and matched with each individual patient’s profile and needs. Based on this long-term patient engagement, it provides data-driven services to the industry, related to real-world evidence, clinical trial recruitment, and patient support platforms. All patient offerings and business services are rendered with absolute respect to patients’ privacy and anonymity. 
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