Integrative Medicine Consultation Service in a Comprehensive Cancer Center: Findings and Outcomes

Integrative Medicine Program, The University of Texas M D Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd., Houston, TX 77030, USA.
Integrative Cancer Therapies (Impact Factor: 2.36). 09/2010; 9(3):276-83. DOI: 10.1177/1534735410378663
Source: PubMed


This study portrays the characteristics of patients who attended an integrative oncology clinic at a large comprehensive cancer center and evaluated whether this service addressed patients' concerns about complementary and integrative medicine (CIM).
Patient information was collected prior to an integrative consultation, including demographics, previous use of CIM, and primary reason for requesting the consultation. Concerns and outcomes were measured using the Measure Yourself Concerns and Well-being (MYCaW) Scale at the consultation and then again at follow-up (6-12 weeks later). Patients met with a physician for an integrative consultation that included a discussion of nutrition, supplements, physical activity, useful complementary therapies, and the mind-body-spirit connection.
A total of 238 patients were referred for consultation regarding the integration of CIM into their care. The majority of participants were female (60%, n = 143), and the mean age was 56 years (range, 21-90 years), with all major cancer types represented. Patients' leading concerns were related to "What else can I do?" and "How can I better cope?" Although distressed over these concerns at the initial consultation, intense distress (5-6 out of 6 on the MYCaW scale) was reduced to less than half (31%) by the follow-up visit. Additional qualitative data revealed that patients value the process of obtaining reliable information that empowers them to be more involved in managing their care.
Integrative medicine consultations at a large comprehensive cancer center appear to provide some benefit in addressing patients' concerns about CIM use.

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Available from: Moshe A Frenkel
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    • "(a) MYCAW is an individualized questionnaire constructed and validated by Paterson et al. [14] for evaluating outcomes in cancer support care that includes complementary therapies [15]. Participants were asked to enumerate one or two concerns and, using a seven-point scale, to score these concerns and their general feeling of well being. "
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