Cancer Patients Perceptions on CAM and Their Physical, Emotional, Social and Spiritual NEEDS

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 32 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Pamela SIEGEL, State University of Campinas, Brazil
Nelson BARROS, Faculty of Health Sciences, Associated Professor, Campinas, Brazil
Although cancer patients spontaneously use some kind of Complementary and Alternative Medicine seeking general well-being, research in Brazil on the usage of CAM in oncology is mostly about pain relief. The purpose of this paper is to present the self-reported perceptions of cancer patients submitted to conventional cancer treatment and different CAM modalities in a Brazilian hospital in 2013. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 28 patients, of which 10 received acupuncture, 10 reiki and 8 medicinal herbs. The study wanted to find out if they thought the CAM practices had aided them in their physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. Most of the patients performed the following low-wage occupations: maids, farmers, seamstresses, metallurgists, tractor operators, mechanics, and a few were housewives and retirees. The age ranges from 22 to 77. The majority of the patients interviewed are Catholic, and 14 are women and 14 men. The interviews were carried out by phone, recorded, transcribed and analyzed, according to thematic analysis. The majority of the patients reported some kind of improvement: in the physical domain, less pain and anxiety; emotionally: more calmness, willpower and courage to pursue conventional treatment; socially: a minority reported going out more to visit relatives or the church; spiritually: most patients reported feeling more faith and hope. In conclusion: for cancer patients CAM may have broader implications than simply pain relief. CAM may represent humanized health practices, social inclusion, personalized attention and positive support to continue conventional treatment.