Patterns of use of complementary therapies among cancer patients and their family caregivers

Sharon L. Kozachik, Gwen Wyatt, Charles W. Given, Barbara A. Given

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Complementary therapies (CTs) are gaining popularity in the general population, including cancer patients, yet little is known about characteristics differentiating the use of one versus more CTs, about the patterns and persistence of CT use over time, or about the characteristics of cancer patients and their family caregivers who elect to participate in a study involving the use of CTs. The focus of this quasi-experimental study was to offer an 8-week, 5-contact, nurse-delivered intervention involving guided imagery, reflexology, and reminiscence therapy to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and their family caregivers. Participants were allowed to elect to use none or any combination of CTs. Twenty-seven percent of eligible patients signed consent forms and agreed to participate. The typical participant was Caucasian, married, and had at least a high school education. Higher levels of education predicted use of more than 1 CT among cancer patients; there were no significant predictors for caregivers. Female patients were more likely to complete the CT protocol than their male counterparts, but there were no associations between CT protocol completion and caregiver demographics. Patients and family caregivers who elected to use more than 1 CT did not consistently implement their CTs. Participants who elected to use only 1 CT were more consistently performing their CT over time, suggesting that this lower level of CT use may be easier to integrate into their lives during cancer treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-94
Number of pages11
JournalCancer nursing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2006


  • Cancer patients
  • Complementary therapy
  • Complementary therapy use
  • Family caregivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)


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