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Family Practitioners’ Needs for Information and Training Regarding Complementary and Alternative Treatment Options for Cancer Patients

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2017.0172-0177

german translation / full article

Gudrun Klein

Keywords: complementary and alternative medicine cancer patients communication

Background: Patients with cancer often require advice on complementary medicine (CM) from their family practitioners, and family practitioners feel responsible for providing sound advice on this subject. Therefore, our aim was to examine family practitioners’ needs for information with respect to CM for patients with cancer. In addition, we investigated how family practitioners obtain relevant information, and what patterns of use of information sources exist in these groups.

Methods: Data were collected using an online survey conducted during the course of a larger project. For the study at hand, data from the group of family practitioners were evaluated both descriptively and using latent class analysis (LCA). Patterns (i.e. subtypes) of different ways of sourcing information were identified by means of LCA.

Results: Data from 219 family practitioners based in 16 federal states were evaluated (56 % women; mean age 54 years). 84 % had an additional qualification (AQ) in the field of CM; 56 % were qualified in homeopathy. In this sample of persons ‘open’ to CM, almost 60 % had to search (often or very often) for information on CM in everyday practice. Respondents would have liked an overview of CM methods and details of specific procedures. There is a substantial need for information on the treatment of typical cancer symptoms and side effects associated with cancer therapies. The first sub-class (62 % family practitioners with an AQ in homeopathy, 46 % without) obtained information from various sources, but primarily from reference books and journals and by contacting experts/colleagues. A second sub-class (38 % family practitioners with an AQ in homeopathy, 54 % without) consulted information sources less frequently overall.

Conclusions: A need for information material and training relating to CM for patients with cancer was sought by surveyed family practitioners even if they had an additional qualification in the field of CM.


(State: 18.04.2017)

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