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.