The purpose of this descriptive study was to determine if patients with cancer communicated their use of alternative therapies to their health care providers, to identify factors that influenced their decision to share (or not to share) this information with the health care provider, to describe the types of alternative therapy they were using, to identify where information on the chosen alternative therapy was obtained, and to discuss the factors that influenced their use of an alternative therapy. A convenience sample of 29 subjects from five oncology practices in northwestern lower Michigan responded to questionnaires assessing their use of alternative therapy. Descriptive statistics along with t-test, correlation coefficients, and chi-square were used to analyze the data. The survey determined that cancer patients who are younger, with a higher education and higher income tend to use more types of alternative therapies. The surveyed group tends to supplement their traditional treatments with alternative therapy more frequently than nationally published reports, receive their alternative therapy information from the lay press, and share this information more often with a health care provider than previously published reports
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