Exploring traditional and complementary medicine use by Indigenous Australian women undergoing gynaecological cancer investigations

A. Gall, K. Anderson, A. Diaz, V. Matthews, J. Adams, T. Taylor, G. Garvey

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Abstract

Background: Indigenous Australian women experience worse gynaecological cancer outcomes than non-Indigenous women. While traditional and complementary medicine (T&CM) is increasingly used by cancer patients alongside conventional treatments, little is known about T&CM use by Indigenous women. This study aimed to explore the beliefs, attitudes and experiences related to T&CM use and disclosure among Indigenous women undergoing gynaecological cancer investigations.

Methods: A mixed-methods design explored T&CM use among Indigenous women who presented for gynaecological cancer investigation at an urban Queensland hospital (September 2016 and January 2018).

Results: Fourteen women participated. The reported use (86%) and perceived value of T&CM was high among the participants, however, women reported major challenges in communicating with healthcare providers about T&CM, commonly associated with trust and rapport.

Conclusions: These findings highlight the need for strategies to facilitate culturally-appropriate doctor-patient communication around T&CM to foster trust and transparency in gynaecological cancer care for Indigenous women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-93
Number of pages6
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
Volume36
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2019

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