Vol 16, No 2 (2022)
Research paper
Published online: 2022-03-29

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The use of complementary and alternative therapy by advanced cancer patients receiving palliative care at home

Łukasz Pietrzyński1, Dariusz Pysz-Waberski1, Tatiana Pietrzyńska2, Michał Kliber1, Iwona Gisterek1
Palliat Med Pract 2022;16(2):108-116.


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of complementary and alternative
therapies (CAT) by palliative care patients treated at home in Poland.
Patients and methods: A total of 241 adult patients with advanced or metastatic cancer who were
qualified for palliative care provided at home filled out the CAT screening tool. Data were analysed to
assess CAT use association with several variables.
Results: 82.16% of individuals who completed the survey declared using CAT at least once in the last
12 months. Self-help practices were the most used CAT category (74.47%), it was followed by herbal
medicine and dietary supplements (62.66%) and visits to CAT providers (41.91%). CAT use was more
prevalent among women, patients with basic education, and patients currently married and widowed.
The most common reason pointed for using CAT was to improve well-being (35.4%). 50.5% of CAT
users declared that they find used therapy helpful or very helpful. The study revealed an exceptionally
high prevalence of spiritual practices (self-prayer, spiritual healing) in comparison to previous European
studies conducted among the cancer patient population.
Conclusions: The study indicated that usage of CAT among advanced cancer patients treated at home
is significant, with a higher prevalence of spiritual practices than reported in previous studies among
cancer patients in Europe.

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