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.