The impact of acculturation on the use of traditional Chinese medicine in newly diagnosed Chinese cancer patients
Goals of work
This study assessed the impact of acculturation on the prevalence of traditional Chinese medicine and other complementary and alternative medicine (TCM/CAM) use in newly diagnosed Chinese cancer patients. The individual determinants of TCM/CAM use among patients were also investigated.
Materials and methods
A consecutive sample of Chinese cancer patients treated at the British Columbia Cancer Agency was surveyed at admission using a 15-item questionnaire. Items included TCM/CAM use, sociodemographics, as well as medical and cultural factors. Data were analyzed using bivariate methods including Pearson’s X 2 test and Student’s t test. As well, multiple logistic regression was used to obtain the final causal model.
Of the 230 respondents, 57% completed the survey in Chinese and 94% were immigrants. The average age was 59. Participants had a mean disease duration of approximately 2 months and 79% had already received at least one conventional treatment. Overall, TCM/CAM was used by 47% of respondents. Herbal remedies, vitamins/minerals, and prayer were the most commonly used therapies. Multivariable analysis showed that prior TCM/CAM use (p < 0.001), having received conventional treatment(s) (p = 0.029), and being less acculturated (p = 0.028) were associated with TCM/CAM use.
Prevalence and type of use were found to vary as a function of the degree of acculturation. Health care practitioners would be well advised to discuss TCM/CAM use with their patients, especially those who are less acculturated to Western society, since they are the most likely users of TCM/CAM.
KeywordsAcculturation Cancer Chinese Complementary and alternative medicine Traditional Chinese medicine
We acknowledge Drs. Stephen Lam and John Yun for their support of this study. We also thank Ms.Yuan Lai, Ms. Diane Skippen, and Mr. Hansen Chou for coordinating the study and collecting data. We are grateful to the British Columbia Cancer Agency reception staff for their support and Mr. Tong Zhu for helping with the interpretation of data in Chinese. Our special thanks go to Ms. Jennifer Millard who offered very competent administrative support throughout the study. This research was funded by a grant to AL from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Palliative Care in a Cross-Cultural Context New Emerging Team (PET 69768) for equitable and quality cancer care for culturally diverse populations.
- 9.Chiu L, Balneaves L, Barroetavena MC, Doll R, Leis A (2006) Use of complementary and alternative medicine by Chinese individuals living with cancer in British Columbia. J Complement Integr Med 3:2Google Scholar
- 15.Gotay CC, Muraoka M, Holup J (2001) Cultural aspects of cancer prevention and control. In: Kazarian SS, Evans DR (eds) Handbook of cultural psychology. Academic Press, San Diego, CAGoogle Scholar
- 16.Health-Canada (2007) List of Licensed Natural Health Products. Retrieved Jun 4, 2007, from http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/applications/licen-prod/lists/listapprnhp-listeapprpsn_e.html
- 38.National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) (2006) Canadian cancer statistics, 2006. NCIC, CanadaGoogle Scholar
- 40.Oliffe J, Thorne S, Hislop TG, Armstrong EA (2007) “Truth telling” and cultural assumptions in an era of informed consent. Fam Commun Health 30:5–15Google Scholar
- 41.Philip RB (2004) Herbal remedies: the good, the bad, and the ugly. J Complement Integr Med 1:1–11Google Scholar
- 43.Rosner B (2000) Fundamentals of biostatistics, 5th edn. Duxbury, Pacific GroveGoogle Scholar
- 44.Rothman KJ, Greenland S (1998) Modern epidemiology, 2nd edn. Lippincott-Raven, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
- 52.Statistics-Canada (2005) Study: Canada’s visible minority population in 2017 (No. 91-541-XIE). Statistics-Canada, OttawaGoogle Scholar
- 57.Geertz as cited in Turner L (2005) From the local to the global: bioethics and the concept of culture. J Med Philos 30:305–320Google Scholar