ABSTRACT: Perceived Cancer Causes Use of Complementary and Alternative
[07/19/2001; Cancer Practice]
Purpose: The objectives of this report are to describe beliefs
about general and personal cancer causes among patients with
cancer who use and do not use complementary and alternative medicine
(CAM), to compare these beliefs with current epidemiologic knowledge,
and to explore associations between these beliefs and choice
Results: Genetics, environment, and diet were among the most common
perceived general causes of cancer, whereas psychosocial factors
were by far the most common perceived personal causes.
were more likely than nonusers to name environment, immune system,
and stress as cancer causes. Compared with the epidemiologic
literature, study participants were less likely to mention tobacco
use and more likely to consider environmental exposures, psychosocial
factors, immunologic mechanisms, and physical injury as causes
Furthermore, the interviews suggest that causal thinking
may be related to the type of CAM used.
Clinical implications: Given the discrepancy between popular cancer
theories and current scientific knowledge, the challenge for
the healthcare provider is to listen and try to understand the
patient's beliefs about cancer etiology.
Understanding the patient's
beliefs about their disease is important in providing the support
and information they need to make effective decisions about their
Cancer Epi Bio & Prevent, 4/03
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