Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 147–152

Is a biopsychosocial–spiritual approach relevant to cancer treatment? A study of patients and oncology staff members on issues of complementary medicine and spirituality

  • Eran Ben-Arye
  • Gil Bar-Sela
  • Moshe Frenkel
  • Abraham Kuten
  • Doron Hermoni
Original Article



Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasingly being used by patients with cancer.


Our aim is to compare the attitudes of cancer patients who use CAM to those of nonusers, on issues of CAM, biopsychosocial considerations, and spiritual needs.


Questionnaires were administered to patients and medical care providers in a tertiary teaching hospital with a comprehensive cancer center.


Forty-nine percent of the study patients reported integrating CAM into their conventional care. Health care providers considered psychological and spiritual needs as major reasons for CAM use, while patients considered the familial–social aspect to be more important.


Cancer patients do not correlate CAM use with spiritual concerns but expect their physicians to attend to spiritual themes. Health care providers involved in oncology cancer care should emphasize spiritual as well as CAM themes. The integration of these themes into a biopsychosocial–spiritual approach may enrich the dialogue between patients and health providers.


Biopsychosocial model Cancer Complementary alternative medicine (CAM) Patient–doctor relationship Spiritual well-being Spirituality 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eran Ben-Arye
    • 1
    • 4
  • Gil Bar-Sela
    • 2
  • Moshe Frenkel
    • 1
    • 3
  • Abraham Kuten
    • 2
  • Doron Hermoni
    • 1
  1. 1.The Complementary and Traditional Medicine Unit, Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of MedicineTechnion-Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Oncology, Rambam Medical Center and Faculty of MedicineTechnion-Israel Institute of TechnologyHaifaIsrael
  3. 3.CAM Education Project, Department of Family MedicineUniversity of TexasGalvestonUSA
  4. 4.Complementary and Traditional Medicine Unit, Department of Family MedicineClalit Health ServicesHaifaIsrael

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