Complementary and alternative medicines for cancer treatment : a patient perspective : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Health Psychology with endorsement at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Current research shows people diagnosed with cancer have a strong interest for
complementary alternative medicine (CAM) to be an option for either sole treatment
or used alongside conventional methods. This qualitative study aimed to investigate
the attitudes of a sample of cancer patients to establish why they use CAM and explore
their beliefs on the benefits (if any) they have from receiving this treatment. It is hoped
that the current study will add to the limited CAM literature from Aotearoa.
The findings presented in this study arise from the thematic analysis of semi-structured
interviews with five participants. They included adults diagnosed with any type of
cancer who were currently undergoing, or had undergone either CAM treatment or a
combination of CAM and mainstream treatment. The interviewees openly discussed
their cancer journey and from these deliberations the five main themes found were:
decision; empowerment; holistic; wellbeing; and social harm. While there were
similarities found with other studies regarding why patients chose CAM, the thesis
also discovered the participants were now wanting to share their information and
experience with others considering CAM for cancer treatment, but did not know how.