Yu, He, Wang, Sicheng, Liu, Jianping and Lewith, George
Why do cancer patients use Chinese medicine? A qualitative interview study in China
European Journal of Integrative Medicine (doi:10.1016/j.eujim.2012.02.007).
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Objectives: To describe the reasons why cancer patients use Chinese medicine (CM) in terms of their expectations, knowledge, attitudes and barriers. To generate an understanding of the interrelationships between these factors which could explain the cancer patient's healthcare seeking behavior.
Method: Twenty-six in-depth interviews and one focus group were carried out in oncology wards in Xiyuan Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. Twenty-three cancer patients participated in an in-depth interview and a focus group after providing informed consent. Interviews and focus group were tape recorded, transcribed. Atlas.ti6.0 was employed and thematic analysis was used to code and theme the information.
Results: A total of 249 codes were identified, which resulted in three main themes: (1) Better outcome - most of participants reported that they believed that they would have a better outcome by using CM treatment. (2) Safe and cheap - CM appeared not to have major side effects and so could be used in the long term and CM remedies cost less. (3) Understandings of CM - Chinese people understand about CM due to its long cultural and historical context and this affected their attitude positively. They trusted CM and used it based on their understandings.
Conclusions: Chinese cancer patients expected CM to improve their quality of life and contribute to achieving a better overall outcome. It is safe and relative cheap to use in the long term. Chinese patients appear to trust CM because of its cultural and historical context. More qualitative research is needed to further assess the role of CM in China.
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