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      Mapping patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer: An explorative cross-sectional study of individuals with reported positive "exceptional" experiences

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          Abstract

          BackgroundWhile the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among cancer patients is common and widespread, levels of commitment to CAM vary. "Committed" CAM use is important to investigate, as it may be associated with elevated risks and benefits, and may affect use of biomedically-oriented health care (BHC). Multiple methodological approaches were used to explore and map patterns of CAM use among individuals postulated to be committed users, voluntarily reporting exceptional experiences associated with CAM use after cancer diagnosis.MethodThe verbatim transcripts of thirty-eight unstructured interviews were analyzed in two steps. First, manifest content analysis was used to elucidate and map participants' use of CAM, based on the National Center for Complementary Medicine (NCCAM)'s classification system. Second, patterns of CAM use were explored statistically using principal component analysis.FindingsThe 38 participants reported using a total of 274 specific CAM (median = 4) consisting of 148 different therapeutic modalities. Most reported therapies could be categorized using the NCCAM taxonomy (n = 224). However, a significant number of CAM therapies were not consistent with this categorization (n = 50); consequently, we introduced two additional categories: Spiritual/health literature and Treatment centers. The two factors explaining the largest proportion of variation in CAM usage patterns were a) number of CAM modalities used and b) a category preference for Energy therapies over the categories Alternative Medical Systems and Treatment centers or vice versa.DiscussionWe found considerable heterogeneity in patterns of CAM use. By analyzing users' own descriptions of CAM in relation to the most commonly used predefined professional taxonomy, this study highlights discrepancies between user and professional conceptualizations of CAM not previously addressed. Beyond variations in users' reports of CAM, our findings indicate some patterns in CAM usage related to number of therapies used and preference for different CAM categories.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Qualitative content analysis in nursing research: concepts, procedures and measures to achieve trustworthiness.

          Qualitative content analysis as described in published literature shows conflicting opinions and unsolved issues regarding meaning and use of concepts, procedures and interpretation. This paper provides an overview of important concepts (manifest and latent content, unit of analysis, meaning unit, condensation, abstraction, content area, code, category and theme) related to qualitative content analysis; illustrates the use of concepts related to the research procedure; and proposes measures to achieve trustworthiness (credibility, dependability and transferability) throughout the steps of the research procedure. Interpretation in qualitative content analysis is discussed in light of Watzlawick et al.'s [Pragmatics of Human Communication. A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies and Paradoxes. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, London] theory of communication.
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            The critical incident technique.

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              Trends in alternative medicine use in the United States, 1990-1997: results of a follow-up national survey.

              A prior national survey documented the high prevalence and costs of alternative medicine use in the United States in 1990. To document trends in alternative medicine use in the United States between 1990 and 1997. Nationally representative random household telephone surveys using comparable key questions were conducted in 1991 and 1997 measuring utilization in 1990 and 1997, respectively. A total of 1539 adults in 1991 and 2055 in 1997. Prevalence, estimated costs, and disclosure of alternative therapies to physicians. Use of at least 1 of 16 alternative therapies during the previous year increased from 33.8% in 1990 to 42.1% in 1997 (P < or = .001). The therapies increasing the most included herbal medicine, massage, megavitamins, self-help groups, folk remedies, energy healing, and homeopathy. The probability of users visiting an alternative medicine practitioner increased from 36.3% to 46.3% (P = .002). In both surveys alternative therapies were used most frequently for chronic conditions, including back problems, anxiety, depression, and headaches. There was no significant change in disclosure rates between the 2 survey years; 39.8% of alternative therapies were disclosed to physicians in 1990 vs 38.5% in 1997. The percentage of users paying entirely out-of-pocket for services provided by alternative medicine practitioners did not change significantly between 1990 (64.0%) and 1997 (58.3%) (P=.36). Extrapolations to the US population suggest a 47.3% increase in total visits to alternative medicine practitioners, from 427 million in 1990 to 629 million in 1997, thereby exceeding total visits to all US primary care physicians. An estimated 15 million adults in 1997 took prescription medications concurrently with herbal remedies and/or high-dose vitamins (18.4% of all prescription users). Estimated expenditures for alternative medicine professional services increased 45.2% between 1990 and 1997 and were conservatively estimated at $21.2 billion in 1997, with at least $12.2 billion paid out-of-pocket. This exceeds the 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures for all US hospitalizations. Total 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures relating to alternative therapies were conservatively estimated at $27.0 billion, which is comparable with the projected 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures for all US physician services. Alternative medicine use and expenditures increased substantially between 1990 and 1997, attributable primarily to an increase in the proportion of the population seeking alternative therapies, rather than increased visits per patient.
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                Author and article information

                Affiliations
                [1 ]Karolinska Institutet, Dept of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society; Division of Nursing, Unit for Studies of Integrative Care, 23 300, SE-141 83 Huddinge, Sweden
                [2 ]Karolinska Institutet, Dept of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Medical Management Center, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
                [3 ]Karolinska Institutet, Dept of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, PO Box 281, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
                [4 ]Research and Development Unit, Stockholms Sjukhem Foundation, SE-112 35 Stockholm, Sweden
                [5 ]University of Manchester School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, University Place, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
                [6 ]State University of New York, Dept of Philosophy, Technoscience Research Group, Stony Brook, USA
                Contributors
                Journal
                BMC Complement Altern Med
                BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
                BioMed Central
                1472-6882
                2008
                8 August 2008
                : 8
                : 48
                2538498
                1472-6882-8-48
                18691393
                10.1186/1472-6882-8-48
                Copyright © 2008 Hök et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research Article

                Complementary & Alternative medicine

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