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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 205-214

Integrating complementary and alternative medicine into cancer care: Canadian oncology nurses' perspectives


1 School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
2 Centre for Integrative Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
3 Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Tracy L Truant
School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Canada
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2347-5625.167233

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The integration of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and conventional cancer care in Canada is in its nascent stages. While most patients use CAM during their cancer experience, the majority does not receive adequate support from their oncology health care professionals (HCPs) to integrate CAM safely and effectively into their treatment and care. A variety of factors influence this lack of integration in Canada, such as health care professional(HCP) education and attitudes about CAM; variable licensure, credentialing of CAM practitioners, and reimbursement issues across the country; an emerging CAM evidence base; and models of cancer care that privilege diseased-focused care at the expense of whole person care. Oncology nurses are optimally aligned to be leaders in the integration of CAM into cancer care in Canada. Beyond the respect afforded to oncology nurses by patients and family members that support them in broaching the topic of CAM, policies, and position statements exist that allow oncology nurses to include CAM as part of their scope. Oncology nurses have also taken on leadership roles in clinical innovation, research, education, and advocacy that are integral to the safe and informed integration of evidence-based CAM therapies into cancer care settings in Canada.


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