Background and purpose: There has been a gradual change in the management of cancer patients, with a more holistic approach being adopted. There has also been an increase in the use of complementary therapies within oncology departments in England and Wales. This paper identifies the number of departments offering individual therapies in the management of cancer patients and the types of therapies being offered. It also identifies whether these therapies are practised by in-house therapists or by external complementary practitioners. Material and methods: Therapeutic radiography managers of the 55 oncology departments in England and Wales were sent a simple, postal questionnaire. The questionnaire was used to identify the complementary therapies being provided by the departments and the different types of practitioners. A pilot study was used to test for ambiguity of questions and the validity of responses. Results: A 100% return rate of the questionnaire identified that 38 oncology departments were offering at least one complementary therapy in the management of cancer patients. Of the 20 therapies identified, six were most commonly used, namely aromatherapy, relaxation therapy, massage, reflexology, visualization and acupuncture. The vast majority of therapies were practised by employees of the hospitals in which they were practised, although some therapies were provided by external complementary practitioners. Conclusions: Complementary therapies have an increasing role in the management of cancer patients, with several therapies being offered. These therapies may raise ethical concerns within the field of oncology, especially with regard to control over their safety and practice.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and Manual Therapy
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Advanced and Specialised Nursing