An Empirical Study on Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Usage among Malaysian Cancer Patients

  • Nagashekhara, Molugulu (Dept. of Pharmaceutical Technology, School of Pharmacy, International Medical University) ;
  • Murthy, Vasudeva (Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, International Medical University) ;
  • Mruthyunjaya, Anil Tumkur (Department of Pharmacy Practice, International Medical University) ;
  • Ann, Lim Li (Asia Metropolitan University)
  • Published : 2015.10.06


Usage of traditional, complementary and alternative medicine (TCAM) has gained popularity over the past few years. However, very little is known about TCAM use among Malaysian cancer patients. This study aimed to identify the determinants of TCAM usage among cancer patients with determination of relationships between demographic factors, patient satisfaction with conventional treatment, knowledge on TCAM and healthcare professional influence. Patient's perceptions towards TCAM were also determined. A simple random convenient sampling method was used to recruit 354 patients from Hospital Kuala Lumpur between February to April 2013. All were directly interviewed with a structured questionnaire. In this study, 172 respondents were TCAM users. There was no significant differences between demographic background of respondents in the usage of TCAM. Minimal correlation was found between patient satisfaction with the conventional treatment and usage of TCAM (r=0.091). A poor correlation was found between healthcare professional's influence and TCAM usage (r=-0.213) but the results suggested that increase in influence would decrease TCAM usage. Patient TCAM knowledge correlated negatively with the TCAM usage (r=-0.555) indicated that cancer patients are less likely to use TCAM when they have more TCAM knowledge. Healthcare professionals should be fully equipped with the necessary TCAM knowledge while maintaining patient satisfaction with the conventional treatment. They should also intervene on patient TCAM usage where a potential drug interaction or a harmful adverse event can occur.


TCAM;cancer;satisfaction;knowledge;health care professionals;influence;Malaysia


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