Practitioners' Sources for Clinical Info on CAM

Original Article

Practitioners sources of clinical information on complementary and alternative medicine in oncology

Michael Joseph Dooley1, 2, 3 , Diana Yu-Lin Lee2 and Jennifer Lillian Marriott2

(1) Pharmacy Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, St. Andrews Place, 3002 East Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (2) Department of Pharmacy Practice, Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, 381 Royal Parade, 3052 Parkville, Victoria, Australia (3) Locked Bag 1, ABeckett Street, 8006 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Goals of work The use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) amongst oncology patients is widespread.

There is little data regarding the sources of clinical information on CAM that oncology practitioners utilise. The aim of this study was to investigate the sources of clinical information on CAM utilised by Australian oncology practitioners.

Methods A structured self-administered questionnaire was sent to Australian oncology practitioners, defined as oncologists, oncology pharmacists and pharmacists at drug information centres (DICs).

Key information was sought on their level of satisfaction with the accessibility, reliability and usefulness of this information and the frequency of, and initiating factors for, seeking this information.

Main results A substantial proportion of oncologists (57.1%) reported having never sought information on CAM, compared to 27.3% of oncology pharmacists, and 18.8% of DIC pharmacists.

Oncologists most commonly reported seeking information on CAM one to three times per year compared to four to ten times per year for oncology pharmacists.

Databases were the most common information source used by oncologists (48.1%) and oncology pharmacists (91.7%) and the second most common information source used by DICs (92.3%).

There was wide variation in the source of clinical information on CAM used by the three different professional groups.

Conclusion Oncology practitioners often seek information on CAM; however the frequency, nature and sources of information utilised varied widely.

The usefulness and reliability of the sources utilised were inconsistent.

Supportive Care in Cancer Publisher: Springer-Verlag Heidelberg ISSN: 0941-4355 (Paper) 1433-7339 (Online) DOI: 10.1007/s00520-003-0570-5 Issue: Volume 12, Number 2

Date: February 2004 Pages: 114 - 119

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