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Cancer Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/NCC.0b013e31820d4da9
Articles

Cancer Patients' Experience of Combined Treatment With Conventional and Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Biopsychosocial Phenomenon

Liu, Chun Hao MD; Tang, Woung-Ru PhD, RN; Wang, Hung Ming MD; Lee, Ko Chen MD, MMed

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Abstract

Background: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is used worldwide as a complementary and alternative medicine, but little is known about cancer patients' experience when using combination therapy of TCM and conventional medicine.

Objectives: The goal of this study was to understand the experiences of Taiwanese cancer patients undergoing conventional chemotherapy and using TCM at the same time.

Methods: For this qualitative descriptive study, 9 cancer patients (42-63 years old) were interviewed individually and in depth using a semistructured guide. All interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Data were concurrently collected and analyzed using a constant comparative method to develop major themes and categories.

Results: Data analysis revealed 3 themes: (1) biomedical aspect: TCM as a supplementary force to conventional medicine, (2) psychological aspect: different beliefs about TCM create different TCM uses, and (3) social aspect: interactions among patients, physicians, and economic issues.

Conclusions: Our study reveals that the phenomenon of using TCM is captured in a biopsychosocial model.

Implications for Practice: When assessing the issue of TCM use among cancer patients, healthcare providers must take into consideration its biological, psychological, and social aspects.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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