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Regaining Control Over Cancer: A Health Communication Initiative Documenting Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Cancer Patients and Survivors

Golya, Kara (2013) Regaining Control Over Cancer: A Health Communication Initiative Documenting Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Cancer Patients and Survivors. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

Cancer is a complex chronic disease that has remained a paramount public health problem for the last 42 years. Systemic treatments, like chemotherapy, or local therapies, like radiation, are often used to treat metastatic cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause a host of physical side effects including fatigue, hair loss, nausea, and vomiting. To combat these side effects of treatment, cancer patients and survivors turn to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) both during and after cancer treatment, to improve their prognosis, symptoms, and quality of life.
While CAM is often sought for symptom abatement, many patients fail to disclose their CAM use to their healthcare providers, despite the potential for adverse reactions with conventional treatments. To understand issues associated with CAM use, including the nondisclosure patterns, the National Cancer Institute Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s (OCCAM) existing sources of qualitative data were reviewed along with the websites of several national cancer advocacy groups. A literature search on the motivations for CAM use and the barriers and facilitators to patient-provider communication about CAM was conducted to understand the current research on communication about CAM in different healthcare settings.
Under the auspices of OCCAM, the author developed an interactive workbook to encourage patients’ participation in their health care by increasing their confidence to talk to their providers about CAM. The workbook contains different adaptations of health diaries to help patients track their motivations for CAM use, the frequency of their CAM use, and all of their medications, including vitamins, herbs, and dietary supplements. Two rounds of pretesting with cancer survivors and healthcare providers were conducted to determine the usability and functionality of the workbook. The healthcare providers and cancer survivors surveyed believed OCCAM’s initiative is an important resource because it empowers patients to help their healthcare providers understand their coping mechanisms during and after cancer care, including their use of CAM. This initiative has public health significance because there are limited patient education resources that encourage patients to talk to their providers about CAM and furthermore, when patients and providers communicate with each other, patients experience more positive health outcomes.


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Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Golya, Karakeg18@pitt.eduKEG18
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberFelter, Elizabeth Madisonemfelter@pitt.eduEMFELTER
Committee MemberHaley, Tammy Michelletmh24@pitt.eduTMH24
Date: 27 June 2013
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 March 2013
Approval Date: 27 June 2013
Submission Date: 31 March 2013
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 158
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), patient education, cancer, health communication
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 18:38
Last Modified: 01 May 2018 05:15
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18518

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