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Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative
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David Kissane, Barry Bultz, Phyllis Butow, and Ilora Finlay

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199238361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.001.0001

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Discussing unproven therapies

Discussing unproven therapies

Chapter:
(p.281) Chapter 24 Discussing unproven therapies
Source:
Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care
Author(s):

Penelope Schofield

Justine Diggens

Sue Hegarty

Catherine Charleson

Rita Marigliani

Caroline Nehill

Michael Jefford

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.003.0024

The use of unproven therapies or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) continues to evoke strong debate and diverse views within the medical community. Many doctors are concerned about the lack of scientifically credible research to support the claims of CAM proponents. However, a large and growing number of cancer patients use CAM. Evidence indicates that clinicians neglect to appropriately discuss issues surrounding CAM use with their patients. Improving CAM-related communication between clinicians and cancer patients has been widely advocated by researchers, medical practitioners, CAM practitioners, and patients. Assisting clinicians to initiate and engage patients in discussions about CAM is an essential contribution to improving health-related communication. This chapter presents a definition of CAM, explores the rationale supporting the need to improve communication about CAM, and considers evidence-based guidelines about how to discuss CAM in a conventional oncology setting. The practical application of the guidelines is then described through the development and implementation of a communication skills workshop for training health professionals.

Keywords:   unproven therapies, complementary and alternative medicine, cancer patients, oncology, evidence-based guidelines, communication skills, training, health professionals

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