Perception of Patients with Cancer towards Support Management Services and Use of Complementary Alternative Medicine - a Single Institution Hospital-Based Study in Saudi Arabia


Background: To evaluate the perception of cancer patients toward treatment services and influencingfactors and to inquire about the use of complementary alternative medicine (CAM). Materials and
Methods:Information was obtained through pre-tested structured questionnaires completed by cancer patients duringtreatment at King Abdulaziz University Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Results: Of 242 patients, 137 (64.6%)accepted to enter this study. Most were Saudi (n=93, 68%), female (n= 80, 58%), educated at university (n=71,52%), married (n=97, 72%) and with breast cancer (n=36, 26%). One-hundred (73%) patients were satisfiedwith the services provided; 61% were Saudi. Ninety-four (68%) respondents were satisfied with the explanationof their cancer. Twenty-eight (21.6%) patients received CAM, of them 54.0% received herbal followed by rakia(21.0%), nutritional supplements/vitamins (7.0%) and Zamam water (18.0%), with significant differences amongthem (p =0.004). Seven (5%) patients believed this therapy could be used alone; 34 (25%) patients believed itcould be used with other treatments, regardless of whether they themselves used this therapy. Fifty-three (53%)satisfied patients felt they received enough support; 31 (58%) patients received support from family and friends;22 (41.6%) patients received support from the health-care team. Patients who received information about theirdisease from their physicians and those who felt they had enough support were more satisfied. The patientswho took alternative treatment were older age, mostly female and highly educated but values did not reachsignificance.
Conclusions: We stress enhancing the educational and supportive aspects of cancer-patient servicesto improve their treatment satisfaction and emphasize the need for increasing the educational and awarenessprograms offered to these patients.