Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

IntroductionThe use of complementary medicine (CM) among individuals with cancer is common, however, it is infrequently assessed or documented by oncology healthcare professionals (HCPs). A study implementing standardized assessment and documentation of CM was conducted at a provincial cancer agency. The purpose of this study was to understand the perspectives and experience of oncology HCPs who took part in the study, as well as withdrew, regarding the feasibility and the challenges associated with assessment and documentation of CM use.MethodsAn interpretive descriptive study methodology was used. A total of 20 HCPs who participated, managed staff, or withdrew from the study were interviewed. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic, inductive analysis was used to code and analyse themes from the data.ResultsOncology HCPs who participated in the study felt that CM use was common among patients and recognized it went underreported and was poorly documented. Facilitating factors for the implementation of standardized assessment and documentation of CM use included having a standard assessment form, embedding assessment within existing screening processes, and leveraging self-report by patients. Barriers included limited time, perceived lack of knowledge regarding CM, hesitancy to engage patients in discussion about CM, and lack of institutional support and resources. Recommendations for future implementation included having explicit policies related to addressing CM at point-of-care, leveraging existing electronic patient reporting systems, including the electronic health record, and developing information resources and training for HCPs.ConclusionsWith the high prevalence of CM use among individuals with cancer, oncology HCPs perceive addressing CM use to be feasible and an essential part of high-quality, person-centered cancer care. Institutional and professional challenges, however, must be overcome to support the assessment, documentation and discussion of CM in patient-HCP consultations.

Original publication




Journal article


Integrative cancer therapies

Publication Date





College of Nursing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.


Humans, Neoplasms, Complementary Therapies, Attitude of Health Personnel, Qualitative Research, Documentation, Health Personnel