The use of complementary therapies in radiation therapy departments throughout Australia

Janelle Wheat*, Geoff Currie

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Introduction: While both radiation therapy patient use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and the oncologist's perspective of CAM have been surveyed in Australia and reported in the literature, actual radiation therapy department practice and endorsement of CAM is yet to be reported. This investigation aimed to provide an overview of current practice and adoption of CAM in radiation therapy departments across Australia. Methodology: This investigation was a survey of current department endorsed CAM practice in all 45 radiation therapy centres in Australia. The study design employed a self administered questionnaire, ensuring participant anonymity. Results: While only 27.7% of radiation therapy departments employed staff with training in CAM, CAM is recommended or endorsed by 66.7% of departments. Relaxation and meditation are the most common CAM therapies and the principal reasons for CAM use in radiation therapy departments is to cope with the emotional aspects of radiation therapy and to improve quality of life. Only 44.4% of radiation therapy departments (8/ 18) obtain details of CAM use of which only 37.5% actually account for it in therapy planning. Conclusion: CAM is widely endorsed in Australian radiation therapy departments, predominantly to aid in management of psychosocial issues and to boost quality of life. Consequently, relaxation and meditation are the mainstays of CAM in radiation therapy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-106
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralian Journal of Medical Herbalism
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


    • Cancer
    • Complementary therapy
    • Quality of life
    • Radiation therapy


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