Acupuncture as a complementary therapy for cancer care: Acceptability and preferences of patients and informal caregivers
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Background: Acupuncture can effectively manage cancer-related side effects, for both patients undergoing treatment and for cancer survivors. It may also be effective in managing physiological and psychological symptoms common among informal caregivers of cancer patients. Objectives: The aim of this survey was to explore the acceptability and preferences of cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their informal caregivers in relation to acupuncture. Methods: The survey was conducted from 20th November to 27th November 2018. The questionnaire was developed to explore acceptability and preferences, including motivation, symptoms to be addressed, and practical issues (location, cost, etc.), in relation to acupuncture. Results: The survey response rate was 94.5% in cancer patients and cancer survivors and 100% in caregivers. Acceptability of acupuncture was 34.5% (n = 40/116) and 48.0% (n = 26/54) in cancer patients and caregivers, respectively. About 52.5% (n = 21/40) of patients preferred to undergo acupuncture at the day center clinic, whereas caregivers had no specific preference. Patients and cancer survivors would use acupuncture for symptoms of fatigue (60%), listlessness (57.5%), and pain (47.5%). Informal caregivers expressed an interest in using acupuncture for their pain, stress, and sleeping difficulties 48.0% (n = 26/54). Conclusion: Cancer patients, cancer survivors, and informal caregivers would accept acupuncture as a complementary therapy. This openness and preference to acupuncture provide the foundations for this complementary therapy to be incorporated into holistic and supportive cancer care, both for patients and those supporting them.
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