Integration of complementary medicine in supportive cancer care: survey of health-care providers’ perspectives from 16 countries in the Middle East

Abstract

In this multinational Middle-Eastern study, we assessed health-care providers’ (HCPs) perspectives on their patients’ use of complementary and traditional medicine (CTM) and identified the leading barriers to CTM integration in supportive cancer care. A 17-item questionnaire was developed and administered to HCPs attending palliative medicine workshops conducted across the Middle East by the Middle East Cancer Consortium. 339 HCPs from 16 countries across the Middle East completed the questionnaire (80.3 % response rate). Respondents perceived their patients’ reasons for CTM use primarily in the context of cancer cure (63 %) and quality of life (QOL) improvement (57 %). Expectation regarding CTM’s role in cancer cure/survival was more pronounced in Turkey, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and the Persian Gulf area. In contrast, the expectation that CTM would improve QOL was more emphasized in Israel. A mid-position between the cure/survival and QOL poles was observed in Cyprus, Lebanon, and the North African countries. Leading barriers to CTM integration in supportive cancer care included oncologists’ skepticism and a gap between patients’ expectations and HCP’s objectives. Respondents’ leading recommendation to HCPs was to communicate integrative care emphasizing well-being and improved functioning in accordance with their patients’ health beliefs. CTM integration in supportive cancer care can be facilitated by implementing a platform for Middle Eastern clinical collaborations. HCPs’ expectations and experiences with CTM have been positive in the oncology setting. These data need to be corroborated with information of patients’ expectations on the provision of CTM over all phases of the oncology treatment.

DOI: 10.1007/s00520-015-2619-7

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@article{BenArye2015IntegrationOC, title={Integration of complementary medicine in supportive cancer care: survey of health-care providers’ perspectives from 16 countries in the Middle East}, author={Eran Ben-Arye and Elad Schiff and Kamer Mutafoğlu and Suha M Omran and Ramzi R Hajjar and Haris A Charalambous and Tahani Dweikat and Ibtisam Ghrayeb and Gil Bar Sela and Ibrahim C. Turker and Azza Adel Hassan and Esmat A. Hassan and Ariela Popper-Giveon and Bashar Saad and Omar F Nimri and Rejin Kebudi and Jamal Dagash and Michael Silbermann}, journal={Supportive Care in Cancer}, year={2015}, volume={23}, pages={2605-2612} }