Attitude of employees of a university clinic to complementary and alternative medicine in oncology

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BackgroundCancer patients often use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), yet discussion with the oncologist is often missing and oncologists lack knowledge in CAM.Patients and methodsIn order to learn more about the attitude of professionals in oncology toward CAM, a survey was conducted on employees of a German university clinic using a structured questionnaire.ResultsIn total, 547 employees took part in the survey. One-third would definitely use CAM on cancer patients. Female employees are more interested in CAM than males (80% versus 20%; P = 0.001); physicians are less interested than nurses (57% versus 72%; P = 0.008). 2.5% of physicians and 9% of nurses are convinced that CAM is as effective as conventional therapy in cancer. Fifty-two percent of physicians and 12% of nurses agree that adverse effects due to CAM may be possible. Seventy-three percent did not consider themselves adequately informed on CAM for their professional work.ConclusionsAs a substantial part of participants would use CAM on cancer patients and most are interested in but not trained on this topic, there is a need for training of professionals from different professions working in oncology.

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