Open dialogue about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) Integrated in conventional oncology care; characteristics and impact. A systematic review

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  • Mette Stie, Department of Oncology, Vejle Sygehus, Vejle
  • ,
  • Lars Henrik Jensen
  • ,
  • Charlotte Delmar
  • Birgitte Nørgaard, Kolding Hospital, Center Lillebælt, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Objective: To systematically review evidence on the characteristics, experiences and impact of an open dialogue about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) integrated in oncology care. Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, AMED, Scopus, ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis, Cochrane Central Register,, and PROSPERO. Two reviewers screened title, abstract and full-text articles. Each study was appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) and synthesized narratively. PROSPERO registration CRD42019112242. Results: We retrieved 4736 articles and included 5; 3 received 9 ½, 1 received 9, and 1 received 5 points on the CASP score. Predominately, the open dialogue was one or two individual, patient-centered, face-to-face consultations led by oncology physicians. In one study, it was a tele-phone consultation and in another it was structured counseling led by pharmacists. Integrated information and recommendations about CAM contributed to high level of satisfaction and improvement in concerns, quality of life and well-being. Conclusion: Integration of open dialogue about CAM in oncology care including acknowledging patients’ preferences, values, wishes and knowledge, and providing information about CAM expands the opportunities for improving patients’ health, quality of life and well-being. Practice Implications: Open dialogue about CAM has potentials, but research on how it specifically helps patients, is needed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Pages (from-to)2224-2234
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

    Research areas

  • Alternative medicine, Cancer communication, Complementary medicine, Dialogue, Integrative, Oncology, Systematic review

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